AfDB: Championing inclusive growth across Africa. A blog by the former Chief Economist and Vice-President
For the past decade, Africa has had strong growth. A new economic momentum has been created. The continent weathered the financial crisis and has bounced back. But headline economic growth is not enough. Deliberate policies to reduce inequalities and promote inclusion are now needed more than ever before. It is time to focus on what people want: decent work, a living wage, access to basic service, more democracy and accountable governments. Africa and its people aim to be a pole of growth in the decades ahead. Read more
The wave of protests and unrest that swept across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region since 2011 has continued in different forms. In addition to demands for more economic and political inclusion, the protests had been largely sparked by a refusal to tolerate any longer the gross socio-economic inequality perpetuated by long-entrenched “elites” in power. In many countries today, the issue of inequality has come to the front burner of international and national discourse with a view to finding solutions.
African economies have been growing at an average GDP rate of more than five per cent annually since 2004, and many are expected to attain middle to high income level by 2060. However, this vision cannot be achieved without a sound, developed and competitive financial sector. Notably, a well-functioning financial system will be a critical prerequisite to achieve sustained and inclusive growth.
African economies have sustained unprecedented rates of growth in the past decade. This growth was mainly driven by exports of natural resources and commodities, improved macroeconomic management, a growing middle class, and increased domestic demand fuelled by consumption and increased political stability. However, Africa’s growth has not been inclusive, as poverty rates and inequalities remain high.
The fifth meeting of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) held in Durban, South Africa, from March 26 to 27, 2013, was seen as an opportunity for Africa to strengthen its ties with these major emerging economies. The theme of the summit was “BRICS and Africa – partnerships for integration and industrialization” with the goal to unlock potential for cooperation between the BRICS and Africa.
Compared with other regions, African countries have a low stock of infrastructure, particularly in energy and transportation, and the potential for information and communication technologies (ICTs) has not been fully harnessed. This pronounced infrastructure deficit, coupled with burdensome trade regulations, has raised the cost of doing business and constrained domestic productivity.