The annual report produced by the AfDB Country Regional Department North Africa (ORNA) has just been published in French and English. This publication is even more important due to the countries of the North Africa Region concentrating the largest proportion of the Bank's portfolio, benefiting from a total of US$ 28 billion in investments accrued to 31 December 2013. By way of comparison, West Africa is in 2nd position with US$ 22 billion to the same date. The AfDB's current portfolio in the North Africa Region amounts to US$ 7 billion. A detailed situation report
In 280 pages, this publication provides a picture of the economies of each of the region's countries (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia), listing both their strengths and challenges to be met, and the trends for their future prospects.
This report is all the more important since, three years after the "Arab Spring" turned things on their head, the countries of the region are in transition. The challenges to be met are more acute than ever, especially as the economy has often paid the price for the socio-political events that have shaken Tunisia, Libya and Egypt since 2011.
Looking for inclusion
Both on the ground and in its strategy documents, the AfDB is pursuing an intangible goal: to promote inclusive growth that benefits entire populations, and not merely certain social categories. "At a time when the new Arab republics are beginning to face uncertainties in their economic futures, it is more urgent than ever to ensure that growth benefits every economic and social group," the report emphasises. Hence its title: Looking for inclusion The first chapter, which outlines ways to measure truly inclusive growth, is an opportunity to review in detail, with tables and figures, the socio-economic conditions characterising each of the countries focused on in the study.
Priority to employment
If there is a major challenge that is common to the six countries in the region, it is undoubtedly employment. The unemployment rate - young people and women in particular - is a worry everywhere, and the employment market, characterised by the size of the informal sector, is finding it ever more difficult to absorb its many new entrants every year. This report also insists on the need to reform the respective labour markets of every one of the six countries studied. It will only be reform that makes it possible to eliminate barriers to employment, the rate of unemployment and the precariousness of working conditions, and to offer appropriate jobs to the region's many qualified, graduate workers.
The North African countries have another point in common: the prevalence of strong social inequalities and regional disparities. To demonstrate that it is possible to remedy this, this Annual Report takes a specific case in its third chapter, that of Tunisia. It makes recommendations to reduce existing disparities.
The AfDB on the ground
The North Africa Annual Report is also an opportunity to go into some detail on the main projects financed by the Bank in each of the region's countries. This is the subject of the fifth chapter, which provides figures and an overview of AfDB activities and summarises the projects it is financing, specifying their expected outcomes and their impacts in terms of development.
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