Gian Paolo Calchi Novati, africanist and ISPI Senior Research Fellow, presents the new study.
In the wake of the exceptional rising of the continent’s middle and high income economies, the assessments on Africa’s growth have been indulged on forecasts of optimistic future scenarios, hailing “African lions” as roaring as the “Asian tigers”. Undoubtedly Africa’s economies are reaching great performances: the growth rate remains generally robust, while inflation dropped considerably down, and foreign debts, as well as budget deficits, declined. Nevertheless, macroeconomic stability and the improving business environment aren’t attracting as many foreign investments as in the East Asia. A major concern regarding the stamina of this golden time is the high dependence on export of energy and minerals that still affects the majority of the African economies. If, in recent times, commodity price has been favorable, increasing the government’s profit and paving the road to the adoption of structural measures, the future remains uncertain as export revenues could be volatile, emphasizing the boom-and-bust cycle. Furthermore, according to the World Bank, economic growth is getting little impact on poverty reduction following a not inclusive pattern. Much is left to do in terms of labor market, social protection policies and good governance, in order to promote a fair income distribution and reduce inequality. Long term transformations, supported by an accountable leadership, need to be achieved. Beyond easy myths, African fastest-growing economies are however facing challenging opportunities that could lead to real development outcomes. The dilemma between enduring returns or increased fragility largely depends on leadership responsibility and capabilities to pursue strategic and broadminded policies, addressing economic and, above all, social issues in an effectively long lasting prospective.
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