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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory 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.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid