Despite recovery, Africa needs more jobs, says ECA
Collecting millet in North Darfur. By investing in labour-intensive sectors like agriculture and agro-industries, African countries could better tap the potential of their large work forces, says the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Photo-Albert Gonzalez Farran
This year Africa’s economies will generally perform better than in 2009. According to the just-published Economic Report on Africa, the continent’s average growth rate will reach 4.3 per cent, up from less than 2 per cent last year — a period marked by devastatingly bad performances worldwide following the global economic slowdown. Within the continent, adds the report by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), oil-exporting countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria and Angola, are expected to benefit from an increased demand from Asia, although world oil prices dropped sharply in May. They are expected to lead the continent with 5.1 per cent average growth.
The ECA report confirms an evident trend in recent months, as signs of Africa’s faster-than-expected economic recovery in 2010 have become increasingly common. Shortly after optimistic predictions by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs were made public in January, forecasts by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank indicated that the continent will bounce back faster and better than most other world regions, lagging only behind East and South Asia. There is general agreement that the continent’s growth is set to surpass 4 per cent this year.