On Friday, 26 October, the OECD and the African Union Commission together with the European Commission presented the first report on Africa's Development Dynamics in Brussels.
In a full house hosted by the European Commission, the AUC, EU and OECD discussed key recommendations from the report on ‘Africa's Development Dynamics 2018’. The speakers representing the three institutions highlighted the importance of meaningful data for African and European decision-makers to respond to the challenges of growth, jobs and inequalities. The production of the report has been led by African experts.
The panel addressed how to accelerate Africa’s growth potential, creating jobs for young people and women, while reducing inequalities. The speakers also highlighted the need to boost growth via regional and continental integration. Enhancing the partnership between the EU and Africa, namely through the new Africa-Europe Alliance, was considered an important step to support growth and employment, both in Africa and in Europe.
The presentation was attended by representatives of Brussels-based embassies and NGOs. Discussions highlighted the sense of urgency to further inclusive growth, job creation and empowerment in light of population growth in Africa.
Africa and Europe as partners
Opening the conference, Stefano Manservisi, European Commission Director-General for International Cooperation and Development stressed the need for a strong and sustainable cooperation: “The Africa-EU partnership is a project of openness. We have to think in terms of common values, as well as our common vulnerabilities. We need strong alliances in the world.” Africa is undergoing a triple revolution: industrial, green and digital. The EU with its experience in economic integration aims to function as a source of inspiration and support, for instance via the new Africa-Europe Alliance focusing on, among others, African continental integration and improved investment climate.
Growth and Jobs
The need to invest in skills for Africa’s youth matched with market demands featured high in the discussions. Africa has been rising in recent years with a growth rate over 4%. However, to boost and sustain growth, the 12 million young Africans that enter the job market each year need to find jobs. AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs Harrison pointed out that Africa's growth so far has been jobless with only 4 million young Africans able to find jobs each year.
To create jobs and boost growth, speakers agreed on the role of the private sector and the need to increase investment. The EU is already engaged in pilot projects to support the private sector and de-risk investment through guarantees and initiatives aiming to improve access to credit.
Regional and continental integration of markets in Africa was seen as an important stepping-stone for increased growth. At the same time, AU Commissioner Victor Harrison stressed that regional specificity should be taken in account to ensure an inclusive and widespread growth. Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre, highlighted the need to strengthen small firms that are already operating in the regional market.
Tackling inequalities, supporting young people and women
Young people were a focus of ongoing efforts. The EU presented ongoing support to harmonising curricula, enhancing student mobility and connecting universities through digital technology. Ambassador of Chad H.E. Ms Ammo Aziza Baroud stressed that employment and growth needs to respond to inequality, underlining also the need to take the voices of young people seriously.
Africa's Development Dynamics 2018: growth, jobs and inequalities’ is the first of a series of annual reports. It is designed to address important challenges for the implementation of Africa's Agenda 2063 and provides a platform for stakeholder discussions. The 2018 edition focuses on sustainable economic development, inclusive social development and stronger institutions.
Africa's Development Dynamics 2018- Key figures
- By 2050, Africa's population will number 2.5 billion.
- Since 2000, Africa has been the second fastest growing region, Africa’s GDP has tripled, with an annual growth of 4%.
- The number of people living on less than USD 1.90 a day increased by 105 million between 1990. Only 12% of Africa’s working-age women were in waged employment in 2016, and about 42% of Africa’s working youth live on less than USD 1.90 a day (at purchasing power parity).
- Between 2009 and 2016, private investment averaged only 15% of gross domestic product (GDP), significantly lower than developing Asia’s average of 24%.
- Intraregional trade in intermediate goods stands at only 4.1% of GDP compared to 24.2% in Asia and 16.6% in the European Union.
- The African CFTA offers an important stepping-stone. Intra-African trade could grow by 33%.
- Climate change is a big risk for 27 African countries, although Africa contributes less than 4% to global greenhouse gas emissions.