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Africa’s emergence relies on economic transformation as key factor

20.06.2019
Article from AFRIC editorial
Africa has grown fast within the last few years at rate which is estimated to be three times faster than the last decades. Despite the fact that the global crisis in 2008 dealt a serious blow to most countries, the continent only recorded a slowdown. Encouraged by this growth which has been as a result of stronger global demand, increased domestic consumption, public investments in infrastructure, there is now a general call for the emergence of the continent. Though a globally approved concept with some common grounds of measurement such as the GDP and growth rate, each country may have a different measuring rod, as well as specific areas of focus to achieve emergence.

Once seen and considered a place of hardship, Africa is battling this stereotype and fast becoming an emergent continent. Still recovering from the lost years of colonialism, most countries are now taking advantage of the vast natural resources at their disposal to foster growth and development.

Emergence is perceived as a process during which the economic growth of a country is properly managed to benefit society. At the end of the cold war, there was the birth of an era political and economic revival as Africa began to record remarkable growth rates. This also led to a drastic change in the way the continent was perceived and represented. There became the frequent talk of a rising or emerging Africa and many states began nurturing the need to become an emergent nation. In Cameroon, for instance, President Paul Biya’s promise of an emerging economy by 2035 is currently a reference phrase.

Africa strategically maps out its road towards its emergence

The concept of emergence has figured severally on discussion tables, which called on the authorities in charge to detail out factors and actions to undertake so as to meet its development goals and become an emergent nation.

Hence, in an attempt to provide Africa-driven solutions to Africa’s problems, the 24th Ordinary Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa adopted the ‘Agenda 2063’ in January 2015, an action plan which is aimed at driving change, and transforming the continent in the next 50 years. This globally approved document is expected to be the game changer for the continent, setting the basis of work to be done.

‘Agenda 2063’ provides a framework for an Africa development driven by Africans themselves. It aims to create an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.

Apart from the Agenda 2063, the emergence of Africa is equally enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development launched by a UN Summit in New York on 25-27 September 2015. The agenda equally adopted by Africa contains 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets to be achieved over the next 15 years. All these documents have today become blueprints which guide actions, decisions and, policies in most countries.

Underlying factors of an emergent nation

Recently, talks and efforts have been tilted to the concept of Africa being an emergent continent in the years ahead. However, it may beat one’s imagination as to what defines an emerging nation and the various aspects which makes a nation to be considered emergent.

Hence, some fundamental changes have been identified in some countries considered to be emergent nations. First, the aspect of a more democratic and accountable government.  Africa has long suffered from poor leadership which has been at the centre of its problems. Although the democratic progress has been uneven and remains incomplete in most of these emerging countries it is still however considered the core of Africa’s emergence.

Furthermore, a more workable economic policy was also earmarked as factors determining and common in some emergent countries. In the past, close to all countries were bankrupt, with budget deficits, inflation, growing debt burdens, lack of basic commodities, and extreme poverty. But with the implementation of strong economic policies, emerging countries have succeeded to wade-off such ills and attract a better business environment. This has largely been successful as a result of the rise in a new generation of policymakers, activists, and business leaders.

None the less, there is a common recognition that emergence relies on good policy and reform agendas. It can be noted that most of the emergence strategies in sub-Saharan Africa clearly states what the government plans to do. A good number of these plan of actions focuses on the need to boost strong and inclusive growth, strengthen governance and the rule of law, create jobs, promote private sector development, deepen the financial sector, improve competitiveness, and diversify the economy.

However, economic transformation has been spotted as one of the key priority issues for Africa’s emergence at a continental level. It is noted as one of the major issues in Agenda 2063 as well as one of the four priority issues recognized by African countries in the post-2015 development agenda. This has also been adopted at the national level especially in countries like Ethiopia where the government has a Growth and Transformation Plan aimed at boosting agricultural and industrial growth. In addition, Ivory Coast also has an Economic Emergence Strategy which is geared at transforming into an industrial economy by 2020. Uganda too plans to enhance its socio-economic transformation through Vision 2040. Countries such as Egypt, Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zimbabwe are also following sooth.

Africa on a good path to growth

According to the Global Economic Prospects report released by the World Bank, GDP growth rate of sub-Saharan Africa for 2019 was predicted at 3.4 percent, which marked an increase as compared to that of 2018. Furthermore, the International Monetary Fund noted that several of the world’s fastest-growing economies will be found in Sub Saharan Africa.

A country like Ethiopia is on track with the highest GDP growth rate in the world. Other countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ghana are equally growing with good results. Forecasts in the continent still remain highly encouraging as a 2010 report, Lions on the Move, released by McKinsey indicated that the region would generate as much as $2.6 trillion in revenue by 2020.

The 2019 forecast for Central and West Africa indicates that economic growth is likely to improve to an annual average of 3.6%, as compared to 3.4% in 2018.

Today, Africa is doing well as growth was impressive in some countries but some other countries are still facing challenges. In 2018, some countries in Africa; Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Benin and Ivory Coast recorded solid economic growth.

Growth in Nigeria stood at 1.9 percent in 2018, an increase from 0.8 percent in 2017. Meanwhile, Angola, the third largest economy, continued facing recession as growth fell as a result of the oil crisis.

Reports indicate that Kenya’s economic growth will remain afloat in 2019 at 5.8. Likewise, growth in Uganda will also remain robust as the GDP growth will average 5.4% from 2019-20. Growth in Ghana, on the other hand, is equally expected to remain strong in 2019.

Other countries which are also expected to experience an increase in growth rate include; Côte d’Ivoire with a 6.6% estimate, Gabon is expected to rise to an annual average of 2.3% and Cameroon will also move to 4.6% in 2019 from an estimated 4% in 2018.

Although there is still a growing uncertainty with the forecasts, the authorities have however recognized the challenges in the growth pattern and are beginning to take sustainable actions to trigger growth in their respective countries.

Article from AFRIC editorial

Credit image : google image/illustration

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