News / Africa

African Economies Growing, But Vulnerable

The economic report for Africa prepared by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission has been presented officially in Cameroon.  It predicts that African economies will continue to grow in the next couple of years but dependence on exports could open African economies to shocks.  It also complains of the wealth not being evenly distributed so that all the people benefit.  

The report states that after two decades of economic stagnation, Africa since 2000 has seen a prolonged commodity boom and sustained growth trend.

Hit by the global financial crisis and a steep rise in food and fuel prices in the latter part of the last decade, Africa quickly recovered with a growth rate of 4.6 percent in 2010.

The continent’s growth slipped in 2011 because of political unrest in North Africa, but rebounded strongly to 5 percent in 2012.

Joseph Barichaco, the economic affairs officer at the Central Africa office for the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, said the boom in Africa economies is mainly commodity driven.  He says it is bolstered by strengthening domestic demand, rising incomes and urbanization, along with increased public spending and foreign investment.

Barichaco says the surprising thing about Africa's growth is that it is not beneficial to all of the people.

"Africa has recorded very good growth performances since a number of years.  However, this kind of growth does not really benefit all the citizens, because they are growth-driven mainly by exports of primary commodities," said Barichaco.

Widespread corruption, especially in extractive industries like oil production and mining, widens the gap between the rich and the poor.

Ndi Richard Tantoh, an official of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), insists that countries should declare the revenues they receive from oil, gas, and minerals, so that citizens can hold them accountable.

"A kind of norm that will help to put some transparency around resources from this sector, could help people to know what resources they get from their petroleum and extractive industries, and probably they will be able hold their governments accountable for the amounts they received from these companies so that they can make the amounts relevant to the development of the people," said Tantoh.

The U.N. Economic Commission for Africa recommends that more effort be made to add value to the continent's abundant raw materials, through factories and refineries. The U.N.'s Joseph Barichaco says that kind of development will spare the continent from shocks.

"If you start destroying the forest, at a given time you have the problem of climate change.  If you continue depending on oil, at a given point it will be off.  If we transform our economies, we try to diversify our sources of growth, the shock will not be too much," he said.

The report concludes that only when African countries improve market access for their value-added products abroad will it avoid marginalizing itself from the world's economy and achieve inclusive growth.

You May Like

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Joseph
June 16, 2013 9:24 PM
"The shock will not be too much" so say Joseph Barichaco from the UN. Please enlighten us on what went wrong in Zimbabwe with the land seizures, the collapse of agricuture and the economy as well as the future prognosis.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid