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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
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 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.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid