On 28 November, the African Union Commission (AUC), the OECD Development Centre and the EU presented the second edition of their joint annual economic report “Africa’s Development Dynamics” in Brussels. The speakers discussed public policies that can help transform Africa’s firms and production systems.
Africa’s economies are growing fast. With an annual growth rate of 4.6% over the past 20 years, Africa is the second fastest growing region in the word. The increased demand in processed goods as well as the recently signed African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) create new opportunities for African businesses. Yet, many challenges persist before realising the full potential of these dynamics.
How can Africa’s productive transformation in a globalised and fast-changing world be achieved? The new report on “Africa’s Development Dynamics” examines different African regions and provides policy recommendations on how to create an enabling environment for African firms to prosper. In a full house hosted by the European Commission, participants from both African and European institutions debated opportunities and challenges.
In her opening speech, Sandra Kramer, Director for EU-AU relations, West and East Africa at the European Commission, underlined that in the framework of the "Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs”, the EU supports sustainable investment, business environment, education and skills development as well as economic integration in Africa. She also noted the importance of reliable statistics and data for better-informed decision-making.
AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Victor Harison stressed that goods need to be processed locally in order to contribute to value addition, job creation and development in Africa. He called on partners to invest in transforming industries to support local value chains. Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre, added that regional value chains must be created to fully capitalise on new possibilities. Ambassador of Rwanda, Amandin Rugira, underlined to the specific success story of Rwanda and stressed the necessity of initiating governance reforms in order to facilitate business activities and attract investment.
Africa’s Development Dynamics is the annual economic report of the African Union Commission, in cooperation with the OECD Development Centre and co-funded by the European Union. The aim is to create a platform for dialogue and knowledge sharing between various stakeholders from both Europe and Africa. The report provides African decision makers with reliable data to inform policy reform at national, regional and pan-African levels to move towards the achievement of the targets of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Africa's Development Dynamics 2019 – Key figures:
· The African continent recorded 4.6% annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth between 2000 and 2018.
· Africa’s domestic demand is the most important driver of this growth performance. It accounted for 69% of annual growth between 2000 and 2018.
· Younger start-ups in Africa are engaging in many sectors. The top three activities of Africa’s start-ups are: 1) information technology and Internet services, 2) apps and software and 3) audio-visual content and broadcasting
· Growth has not created enough quality jobs or well-being for the population. In some countries, almost 91% of the non-agricultural labour force remain in informal employment.
· The number of people living on USD 1.90 a day or less increased by 31 million between 1999 and 2015, from 376 million to 407 million.
· Overall, productivity is not catching up. Africa’s labour productivity has remained at 12% of the United States’ level since 2000.
· Upgrading the capabilities of smaller firms is essential to create more quality jobs. Among the formal enterprises in 38 African countries, those with less than 20 employees make up 41% of the net job creation