Africa's economic growth: Taking off or slowing down?

04-01-2016

Since the turn of the millennium, Africa has achieved high and sustained growth rates, sparking hopes that the 21st century could be Africa's century. As the global economic context is turning less favourable, other drivers of growth than export commodities become essential. The primary sector (agriculture and extractive industries) will remain vital for most African countries but it has to generate more industrial processing locally. Services have contributed significantly to growth, being the fastest growing sector, but remain affected by low productivity and an insufficient level of skills. Manufacturing has been stagnant for decades. Africa has to industrialise in order to create jobs (including low-skilled ones) and transform the economy. Building infrastructure, especially for electricity supply and transport networks, and also improving the quality of economic governance are necessary but not sufficient prerequisites for achieving further growth and creating the new jobs so much needed by Africa's young population.

Since the turn of the millennium, Africa has achieved high and sustained growth rates, sparking hopes that the 21st century could be Africa's century. As the global economic context is turning less favourable, other drivers of growth than export commodities become essential. The primary sector (agriculture and extractive industries) will remain vital for most African countries but it has to generate more industrial processing locally. Services have contributed significantly to growth, being the fastest growing sector, but remain affected by low productivity and an insufficient level of skills. Manufacturing has been stagnant for decades. Africa has to industrialise in order to create jobs (including low-skilled ones) and transform the economy. Building infrastructure, especially for electricity supply and transport networks, and also improving the quality of economic governance are necessary but not sufficient prerequisites for achieving further growth and creating the new jobs so much needed by Africa's young population.