In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, Africa needs to grow at an annual rate of at least 7 per cent. While several countries have posted such growth rates since the mid-1990s, these results have been episodic, with few being sustained over long periods, and remain closely bound to changes in external conditions. Since the end of 2003, these changes have included a favourable rise in commodity prices, in particular for fuels and minerals. But dependence on commodities for sustained growth has proven to be a mixed blessing in the past, in part because commodity booms tend to have been shorter than subsequent slumps, and because such booms, particularly when improperly managed, have had a distorting effect on other parts of the productive economy. Accordingly, and even if commodity markets can offer African producers a more favourable future, policies are still needed to address structural constraints that have hindered diversification of the economic base.

Related Subject(s): Economic and Social Development
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