Rethinking Africa’s growth strategy


Coming through the economic crisis, Africa has surprised many with its resilience and a faster than expected recovery. The key sessions of the program throughout the course of the three days were looking at the drivers behind Africa’s growth including the social factors that helped sustain the future for Africa.“Even if growth expected is below what World Economic Forum was forecasting 18 months ago, the overall GDP growth for Africa is positive.

As a whole, Africa’s economies outperformed many during the depths of the crisis. In the medium-term future, sub-Saharan Africa will be the third-fastest growing region in the world after China and Africa. According to the IMF, Africa is forecast to grow at a respectable five per cent this year, 5.5-6 per cent in 2011 and six per cent thereafter with certain economies reaching well beyond these figures. The focus on economic growth was intimately linked to the importance of political stability and strong social structures,” she explained.

“Much time was dedicated to how a more conducive business climate and regulatory reforms can encourage greater local and international investment and how critical infrastructure and effective trade policies can foster greater intra-regional trade. A key theme across the four pillars addressed how low-carbon, sustainable development plans could best balance the competing demands of the food-energy-water-climate nexus and the importance of public-private partnerships in implementing these plans,” she added.


Health, education, skills

Important emphasis was placed on access to health, education and skills development. The empowerment of Africa’s women resonated as a central theme with sessions on social entrepreneurship, empowerment of youth and the political future for Africa. “As 60 per cent of Africa’s one billion population is under the age of 25, the development of the continent’s youth and the potential behind this “demographic dividend” were high on the agenda. In this regard, this year’s meeting greatly benefited from the diversity and contribution of over 275 World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders and the inspiring voices of the Global Changemaker students. A new fund was set up by them to finance solar lamp entrepreneurs in expanding their businesses,” she said.

"This meeting is about making change happen and about being the change. Success is a platform we create for others to use and to effect positive change in their everyday life and working environment. It’s important that the African voice as a whole is heard strongly," said Katherine.

The 20th World Economic Forum on Africa concluded with a call to end the continent’s marginalization. Africans must believe in themselves and “be the change they want to see” was a message that resonated across the Forum’s sessions and private meetings.

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