News / Africa

    Boosting Africa’s Standard of Living Through Regional Investments

    Boosting Africa’s Standard of Living Through Regional Investments
    Boosting Africa’s Standard of Living Through Regional Investments

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Joe DeCapua

    A new report recommending ways to boost Africa’s standard of living was released Tuesday at the Fourth U.N. Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Istanbul, Turkey.

    “Integrated regional investments could lead to an accumulated 10 percent increase in the continent’s standard of living between 2012 and 2020,” said report from the U.N. Development Program (UNDP).

    Infrastructure deficit

    UNDP Administrator Helen Clarke was in Istanbul for the release of Regional Integration and Human Development: a Pathway to Africa.

    “This report says that it would be good for Least Developed Countries [LCDs] and for Africa generally if there were greater regional integration. Now to make that hum, you need more trans-border infrastructure investment for a start. One of the things that really holds back trade within Africa is the lack of good logistics. Roads aren’t always in good repair, if existent. And rail is very underdeveloped in many countries,” said Clark.

    She described the problems as an “infrastructure deficit,” which includes not only transport, but also clean water, power and communications.

    Finding the money

    Half of Africa’s population, nearly 500 million, lives in 33 LDCs and shares less than one quarter of Africa’s gross domestic product, according to UNDP. So where would investment money come from?

    “In many cases there’ll be a big role for the multi-lateral development banks,” Clark said, “but I think there’ll also be private-public partnerships, which enable countries to speed up the development of their infrastructure. There’ll also be a role which some of the major emerging countries are playing in South-South cooperation. And I think there’s a lot of awareness of the role China is now playing in infrastructure projects. So I think there’ll be a wide range of ways to do this.”

    Pro-poor policies

    The UNDP report said if integrated regional investments are to succeed, they must be “coupled with pro-poor policy.”

    “The objective would be to see human development as an outcome of regional integration, not just a byproduct, but something you actively plan for. For that to be the case, you have to be planning around the education and skills you’re going to need to drive greater regional economic integration. It also means a healthy population because unhealthy populations aren’t able to give economic growth much momentum,” she said.

    The report also recommended basic social protection.

    “When you go to integration, there will be some winners and there will be some losers unless you mitigate. So you need to build that into the design of regional integration, as well,” said Clark.

    Where there’s a will

    According to the report, “The achievement of greater integration can only become reality if supported by strong political will and committed leadership in African countries.”

    Clarke said, “I think increasingly we will see that leadership and will because African countries are aware of what very successful models of regional integration have achieved, for example, in Southeast Asia. I think that Africa knows it has a lot more potential to trade between itself but that’s it’s held back for a variety of reasons, not [the] least these major infrastructural ones.”

    She said she sees that commitment within the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

    “I guess the objective is to see Least Developed Countries move out of that category and along the development trajectory,” she said.

    Turkey, current chair of the LDCs conference, is compiling a list of countries it believes can do that over the next 10 years.

    “There are many which could graduate,” said Clark, “There are others currently, like Afghanistan, held back by very, very considerable conflicts. But so often in the conflict-ridden countries we see very, very great resources, as well. So peace and stability have a big part to play in lifting countries out of the development stagnation, if you like, that a number are in.”

    She added that investment in smallholder agriculture also plays a crucial role in economic growth. The sector has received more attention following the start of the crisis over soaring food prices and supply shortages several years ago.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    NATO to Target Migrant Smugglersi
    X
    Jeff Custer
    February 11, 2016 4:35 PM
    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.