Addis Ababa: The experience of the last decade suggests strongly that Africa is likely to make the twenty-first century its own - an experience woven into this document countless times. Essentially, since the beginning of this century, African countries have shown strong economic growth owing to improved economic management, a generally hospitable international environment and rising prices for their commodity and other strategic minerals.
Growth was interrupted when the 2008 global financial crisis - and steep food and fuel prices - hit the continent. Yet Africa quickly recovered and saw its growth resume at pre-crisis rates, a clear indication of the deep restructuring under way for more than a decade. Several prominent international financial organizations and private think tanks, observing this trend, have stressed Africa’s potential to be a “global growth pole” - one that, reflecting its own size and rate of growth, boosts growth in other countries, worldwide. The headline “Africa rising”, which appeared on the cover page of The Economist news magazine on 3 December 2011, captures the growing optimism about Africa’s role in the world.
Still, the continent should not rest on its laurels, as UNECA Executive Secretary, Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, warned in his June 2011 address to the African Union Executive Council in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The last decade’s impressive growth must be examined in a proper context if Africa is to become a global growth pole, for the fact remains that the sources of Africa’s growth have changed very little over the years: agriculture and natural resources remain the main drivers, and Africa has diversified its economies in little meaningful way.
Moreover, job creation has not matched growth and employment needs. It is therefore important to carefully review Africa’s development experience in the recent past, analyse the attributes of a global growth pole, consider the steps - or “imperatives” - that Africa must take to become a global growth pole and identify what it has to do to set free its growth potential.
- Thus the theme - and title - of the Economic Report on Africa 2012 is Unleashing Africa’s Potential as a Pole of Global Growth, examined in five chapters.
Chapter 1 presents a review of the developments in the world economy and implications for Africa.
Chapter 2 offers an overview of economic, social and human conditions in Africa in 2011 and prospects for 2012. The remaining three chapters focus on how to harness the continent’s productive capacity by taking bold measures to ease the binding constraints that still stifle Africa’s potential.
Chapter 3 - the focus of the growth pole analysis - looks at Africa’s growth in the last half century, particularly the drivers of growth in different development strategies. Through the optic of the global growth pole, it proposes several imperatives that Africa must fulfil, including sustained high growth, as well as economic transformation (mainly of infrastructure, human resources and local entrepreneurship). It also discusses options for capitalizing on the opportunities, and for managing the risks, of the emerging multipolar world and the gradual shift in the resource balance from the developed world to Asia and other developing regions.
In more detail, chapter 4 presents how to unleash Africa’s productive potential. Emphasizing that Africa’s marginal position in the global economy can be reversed with the right type of political leadership committed to mobilizing all sectors of society around a common national development vision and strategy, the chapter suggests the need for two other elements: a capable and pragmatic bureaucracy and a social compact in which the State, the private sector and civil society are mutually accountable for implementing that vision. The chapter then proposes options for improving political and economic governance, for relaxing constraints from deficits in human capital, infrastructure and local entrepreneurship, for unlocking Africa’s agricultural potential, for stepping up regional integration initiatives and for harnessing new partnerships, particularly with the emerging economies of the global South.
Chapter 5 reviews the various resource-mobilizing channels open to Africa given the pressing need to transform itself structurally. It outlines innovative proposals on mechanisms for mobilizing, using and distributing resources for setting a foundation of shared growth and inclusive development. It begins by reviewing past experience as well as new opportunities and challenges facing policymakers in mobilizing and using external resource flows - official and private - for socio-economic structural transformation. The chapter then looks at new financial instruments for mobilizing private savings from international and domestic investors, as well as issues in mobilizing domestic public resources.
- Table of contents
Chapter 1: Developments in the World Economy and Implications for Africa
Chapter 2: Economic and Social Developments in Africa and Prospects for 2012
Chapter 3: Africa as a Pole of Global Growth
Chapter 4: Unleashing Africa’s Development Capacity
Chapter 5: Mobilizing Resources for Structural Transformation