columnBy Caroline Kende-Robb
The past 12 months have seen extraordinary media coverage of Africa as analysts and commentators argue over the significance of Africa's rapid economic growth for its one billion (and rising) population.
Will Africa's natural resource wealth bring jobs and opportunity for Africa's youthful workforce, for example? Or will a lack of jobs and opportunity lead to frustration, anger, and political instability? As we said in last year's Africa Progress Report, we do not see enough people in Africa benefitting from the continent's economic growth.
Following on from last year's Africa Progress Report, meanwhile, this year's report will explore the ways in which Africa can use its natural resource wealth to generate meaningful human development. Based on our work over the past few months with African governments, oil and mining companies, civil society, and academics, the report will identify ways in which stakeholders can work better together to produce a fairer future for all Africans.
Besides Africa's natural resources, we will also continue to work on a wide range of issues this year including agriculture and food security, health, education, and trade. Social justice, governance, and the MDG/SDGs run through all these themes, of course. After all, the Panel's mission is to advocate for more equitable and sustainable policy in Africa.
Looking to the future, we're excited about Africa's growing confidence. African companies such as Oando, SABMiller, and the Dangote Group have made names for themselves on the world stage; "made in Africa", the continent's mobile technologies are now being used around the world; and democratic institutions in countries such as Ghana and Ethiopia have shown impressive resilience when challenged by the sudden deaths of national leaders.
We would be remiss not to mention the generous support of our steadily growing donor base. We heartily thank the Gates Foundation, DFID, BMZ, Virgin Unite for their continued support over the years and we gratefully welcome new support - agreed in December - from the Nigeria-based Dangote Foundation too.
The Africa Progress Panel has an unusual reach into many networks around the continent and the world. With your support, we're excited to build on this reach and push for better policy in Africa next year.
Caroline Kende-Robb is the Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel, a group of distinguished individuals, chaired by Kofi Annan, dedicated to encouraging progress in Africa.