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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid