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AfDB: Africa's growth at 4.8 pct in 2013

29 May 2013, 09:28

Nairobi - The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) has projected that Africa's economy will grow by 4.8 percent in 2013 and accelerate further to 5.3 percent in 2014, buoyed by the continent's booming natural resources.

The African Economic Outlook 2013 published on Tuesday says for the growth to be achieved, the continent must have the right conditions for turning natural resources into jobs, use their resource revenues through smart taxation and help investors and locals to make the most of linkages.

"Africa's agricultural, mining and energy resources could boost the continent's economic growth and pave the way for a breakthrough in human development," according to the report.

The AfDB's report comes after UN World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Pascal Lamy described Africa as the next growth frontier for the 21st century, urging the continent to fix a few challenges to help realize its dream.

Lamy who visited Nairobi last week said some key challenges such as non-tariff barriers, poor infrastructure and energy including corruption need to be addressed to enable Africa lead the new patterns of growth for the foreseeable future.

"Africans today are more confident and hopeful of the future than ever before. This is the great transformation that I have seen in the attitude of African negotiators in WTO, confident that trade, if coupled with domestic policies and Aid for Trade can be an engine for growth," the WTO chief said on May 22.

Six of the world's 10 fastest growing economies over the past decade were in sub-Saharan Africa, Lamy said, adding that Kenya, in particular, has continued to be a leader on the continent and in the East Africa region, with projected growth this year of around 6 per cent.

According to the AfDB, African countries must optimize their natural resource wealth to hasten the pace of growth and ensure the process can benefit ordinary Africans.

Confirming Africa's healthy resilience to internal and external shocks and its role as a growth pole in an ailing global economy, the report notes that the continent's economic outlook for 2013 and 2014 is promising.

AfDB chief economist Mthuli Ncube said improved stability, sound macroeconomic policies and blossoming trade links have made African nations to be independent and thus able to chart their own development paths and apply active policies for economic transformation.

Ncube said now is the time for the continent to accelerate the pace of economic revolution, so that their economies become more competitive and create more gainful jobs.

The AfDB called on governments and investors to ensure that a fair share of the proceeds from natural resources and extractive industries accrue to society by investing in people's capacities to take up new jobs in promising sectors.

The report shows that widening the sources of economic activity is fundamental to meeting economic transformation challenge.

It also shows that this growth has been accompanied by insufficient poverty reduction, persisting unemployment, increased income inequalities and in some countries, deteriorating levels of health and education.

"Four key elements are needed to achieve that objective. Firstly, African countries should create the right conditions for such a transformation to take place, including infrastructure, education and the creation of larger and more competitive markets, " it says.

Other areas where African countries can foster change and economic diversification actively, is through corridors of development around power, transport and communication lines, the AfDB said

It shows that higher levels of human development for all, including the most vulnerable, can accelerate the pace of economic transformation, leading to a virtuous cycle of growth and development.

According to the WTO, higher investment and savings, stronger export growth particularly resulting from the higher commodity prices, an improved legal, regulatory environment and overall macroeconomic stability have contributed to Africa's rebound in growth.

The World Bank has projected investment rate in sub-Saharan Africa will be steady by 2030 due to robust labor force growth and the youth bulge.

The bank said in its latest report that sub-Saharan Africa will be the only region to not see a decrease in its saving rate in a scenario of moderate financial market development, since aging will not be a significant factor. 



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