Policy highlights:

  • This year’s African Economic Outlook looks at recent macroeconomic development and structural changes in Africa. The latest trends include the following: 1) the recovery in economic growth has been faster than envisaged (real output growth increased to 3.6% in 2017, up from 2.2% in 2016, and is expected to accelerate to 4.1% in 2018 and 2019), especially among non-resource-intensive economies, which underscores Africa’s resilience, 2) structural change is taking place, but slowly; Africa’s recent growth and poverty reduction has been associated with a decline in the share of the labour force in agriculture (especially for rural females) and an increase in the productivity of the labour force, 3) although the proportion of poor people in Africa declined from 56% in 1990 to 43% in 2012, the number of poor people has increased; inequality has also increased, with the Gini coefficient rising from 0.52 in 1993 to 0.56 in 2008 (the latest figure available), and 4) Africa’s recent high growth rates have not been accompanied by high job growth rates (between 2000 and 2008, employment grew at an annual average of 2.8%, roughly half the rate of economic growth) and slow job growth has primarily affected women and youth (aged 15–24).
  • Recommendations for policymakers include: 1) putting in place programmes and policies aimed at industrialization, starting with modernizing the agricultural sector, 2) investing in human capital, particularly in the entrepreneurial skills of youth, 3) implementing reforms for attracting foreign direct investment in industries with strong competitive potential and thus allowing the private sector to create enough ‘good jobs’, 4) developing policies that empower the poor and low-skilled workers so that they can take advantage of the new opportunities that arise with structural transformation, and 5) developing infrastructure and optimizing the use of existing infrastructure by putting in place effective institutional arrangements. Furthermore, Africa should not wait for the international community to understand the potential global benefits of industrialization or to finance the infrastructure gap. The continent should adopt a more pragmatic approach to financing – infrastructure needs (USD 130–170 billion a year) leave a financing gap of as much as USD 108 billion. For an overview of new and innovative financing mechanisms, see chapter 4 of the report. To address this financing gap, African countries have a wide variety of options available, beyond foreign aid (e.g. remittances, foreign direct investment, market finance, and tax revenue).
  • It should be noted that African industrialization is beneficial to the global economy. For example, increased production of capital and consumer goods in G20 economies and in Africa would put into motion several multiplier effects, generating further demand for intermediate inputs, augmenting incomes, and increasing employment, which would generate an estimated 7.5 million jobs in the G20 economies.
Share this post

Related items

5 Key insights for greening TVET in the solar industry in Africa

This year INCLUDE joined the Solar Hands-on Training and International Network of Exchange (SHINE). In this EU-funded consortium, we are working together with African VET schools and European partners on greening Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for the solar industry in Africa. As the research partner, we are laying the project's theoretical foundation. Through literature review and discussions with experts and practitioners, we have gleaned key insights that are shared in this blog. 

Siri profile picture
Infographic: How to Make Plastic Waste Work for Green & Decent Jobs for Youth in Africa

Plastic waste recycling presents an opportunity to create sustainable jobs while benefiting the environment. But the question remains, how can stakeholders contribute to a conducive waste recycling ecosystem, unlocking its green job potential among Africa’s youth? We are excited to present an infographic showcasing the pathways and recommendations for Green & Decent Jobs for Youth in Africa.

Closing the loop: 3 barriers to decent youth employment in Africa’s waste management sector

This blog is part of a research project on the opportunities for decent work for youth in Africa’s Waste Recycling Sector, in collaboration with the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment (CFYE). Waste management in Africa is a major challenge for sustainable and inclusive development. Due to poor management, 90% of the waste generated in Africa is disposed of in landfills and uncontrolled dumpsites with severe consequences for the environment and people working in the waste management sector.

Green jobs & the future of work in Africa: the story of Olivia Onyemaobi and Pad-Up Creations

In this video, we present the story of Olivia Onyemaobi, Nigerian entrepreneur and founder of Pad-Up Creations, a social enterprise producing affordable and eco-friendly sanitary pads in partnership with CFYE.

Inclusive Youth Agripreneurship in Africa: A New Report and a Comprehensive Policy Brief on Advancing Youth Entrepreneurship in Agriculture

The Inclusive Youth Agripreneurship in Africa research project is a joint venture between The Broker and two Dutch knowledge platforms, the Netherlands Food Partnership and INCLUDE. The project's goal is to strengthen the existing research on best practices for youth agripreneurship programs and policies, catalyzing action from policymakers and youth organizations alike. The project was finalized with two innovative knowledge products, both of which are now available for download.