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  • Matt Spencer

Growth and Employment in Africa

What do you think Africa needs to achieve in order to further improve growth and development in the region? 

Over the years, most African countries have experienced major growth rates, yet with even such growth the employment rate in Africa is still somewhat worrying.  So the question is do African countries need a new efficient and more balanced growth strategy? The negative stereotyping that is commonly associated with Africa is no longer the case as we witness the degree of growth acceleration across Africa.

What needs to change in Africa?

Firstly, African governments need to create and implement renewed commitment to domestic resource mobilization

Secondly, monitoring and understanding the employment dimensions of growth are vital. This will require the development of regular and reliable labour statistics and an appreciation of the fact that appreciable reductions in the incidence of the working poor and vulnerable employment cannot be attained through growth alone.

Lastly, a much needed debate is necessary on the nature of structural transformation in Africa. Should one be worried about ‘de-industrialization’ or should one focus on service sector led growth as both feasible and appropriate for the specific conditions of the region? Whether one focuses on the manufacturing or the services, several prerequisites need to be met in formulating sectoral strategies: (a) it is necessary to understand the impediments to productive expansion of employment at the sectoral level; (b) one should not neglect the agricultural sector and (c) one should tap into pan-African markets that should compensate for the narrowness of domestic markets and the challenge of accessing inter-continental markets.

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