Economic Development in Africa report 2014

Catalysing Investment for Transformative Growth in Africa

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The Economic Development in Africa Report 2014 addresses the current state of development in Africa. Over the past decade, African countries have had relatively good economic growth performance. But average investment rates on the continent remain low relative to what is considered necessary to achieve national development goals and relative to the average rate for developing countries. These facts suggest that Africa’s recent growth may be fragile and that it is unlikely to be sustained in the medium to long term if current trends continue. The key question, then, is how can African Governments catalyse investment for sustained and transformative growth? This report addresses that question

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Africa has experienced high and continuous economic growth in the past decade, prompting analysts to argue that the continent has reached a turning point in its development history and is poised to play a more significant role in the global economy in the twenty-first century. The average annual growth rate of real output increased from 1.8 per cent in the period 1980–1989 to 2.6 per cent in 1990–2000 and 5.3 per cent in the period 2000–2010. Furthermore, 12 countries had an average growth rate above the developing-country average of 6.1 per cent over the period 2000–2010, and two countries (Angola and Equatorial Guinea) had double-digit growth rates. Unlike in the 1980s and 1990s, Africa’s average growth rate since the turn of the millennium has also been higher than the average growth rate of the world economy (table 1). The continent experienced a significant slowdown in growth due to the global financial and economic crisis of 2008/2009 (Osakwe, 2010). Nevertheless, its average growth rate in the post-crisis period (2008–2012) was about 2 percentage points higher than that of the world economy. Internal and external factors contributed to Africa’s relatively impressive growth performance over the past decade. Better macroeconomic management, high domestic demand and a relatively more stable political environment are some of the internal factors that supported growth in the continent. On the external front, favourable commodity prices, stronger economic cooperation with emerging economies, higher official development assistance since 2000, and an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) flows contributed to the growth process.

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