1 April 2016

Africa's Growth Set to Increase But Progress Could be Hindered by Lurking Risks

Photo: Economic Commission for Africa
Delegates at the opening session of the meeting of the Committee of Experts, African Development Week
press release

Addis Ababa — Africa’s medium-term growth prospects for 2016 and 2017 remain positive but risks and uncertainties remain, Director Mr. Adam Elhiraika of the Macroeconomic Policy Division of the Economic Commission for Africa said Thursday.

Mr. Elhiraika, who presented a paper on the overview of recent economic and social developments in Africa during a meeting of the committee of experts under the inaugural African Development Week, said Africa’s growth will increase in the next year, driven by strong domestic demand of goods and investment.

However, he told the experts, risks that include the weak recovery of the global economy and China’s economic slowdown, low commodity prices and the depreciation of major currencies, the tightening of monetary policy in the United States and the European Union, could hamper the expected growth.

Droughts and security and political instability were also cited as major stumbling blocks to Africa’s structural transformation.

“As a result we need to come up with African solutions to these risks if we are to witness the expected growth,” said Mr. Elhiraika.

“This includes strategies like adding value to our natural resources because in that way we create jobs that are on the low-end in the mining sector for example. We need to invest in agro-processing industries. Commodity price developments highlight the need for prudent and counter-cyclical macroeconomic management strategies and diversification from commodity sectors.”

He said increased political stability on the continent would also spur growth through consumption and investment, adding there’s need to increase intra-African trade as well as matching increasing urbanisation on the continent with an industrialised process that provides required skills.

The creation of more jobs, said Mr. Elhiraika, would address many issues on the continent, including poverty reduction and inequalities.

Participants discussed many issues including how the continent can turn the fast-growing informal sector into formal jobs, the need for the continent to fund its own development agenda and the need to harmonise Africa’s developmental plans, among others.

Background

African Development Week was officially launched Thursday paving way for discussion around Africa’s economy, regional integration, investment and related issues. Major highlights of the week include the launching of the ECA’s flagship Economic Report for Africa 2016, country profiles, the Africa Governance Report, among others.

African Development Week is running under the theme; “Towards and Integrated and Coherent Approach to The Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation of Agenda 2063, and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

More than 1,000 high level delegates are expected to attend various events connected to the week, including the Ninth Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

 

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