The Independent published a list of 10 things we didn't knew about the African economy. Here are the highlights:
- Africa is booming
"Africa has been the second-fastest-growing region in the world over the past 10 years, with average annual growth of 5.1 per cent over the past decade, driven by greater political stability and economic reforms that have unleashed the private sector in many countries."
- Africa is poised to have the largest labour force in the world
"By 2035, Africa's labour force will be bigger than that of any individual country in the world, which offers the continent a chance to reap a demographic dividend, using its young and growing workers to boost economic growth."
- African workers are better educated than ever before
"Today 40 per cent of Africans have some secondary or tertiary education. By 2020, it will be nearly half."
- Steady work is still hard to find in Africa
"Only 28 per cent of Africans have stable, wage-paying jobs. To reap the benefits of its positive demographics and advancements in education, Africa needs to quickly create more jobs."
- With a few reforms, massive job growth is within Africa's reach
"The experience of other emerging economies shows that Africa could accelerate its creation of stable jobs dramatically. When they were at a similar stage of development as Africa today, Thailand, South Korea and Brazil generated jobs at double or triple the rate of Africa's."
- Africa can become the world's bread basket
"Africa has about 60 per cent of the world's unused cropland, providing it with a golden opportunity to simultaneously develop its agricultural sector and reduce unemployment. On current trends, African agriculture is on course to create 8 million wage-paying jobs between now and 2020."
- It's often cheaper for Africans to buy goods made in China than those made at home
"African manufacturing is declining as a share in most economies, and that needs to stop. Africa is on course to generate 8 million new manufacturing jobs by 2020 but could nearly double that tally if it can reverse this trend."
- Nigeria's four largest cities still have only six shopping malls
"Africa's rising number of consumers is already driving growth in retailing, but the sector could grow much faster. The potential of retail still goes largely unrealised: In Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana and Nigeria, nearly three-quarters of groceries are bought in tiny informal outlets. If barriers to foreign players were removed and action was taken to boost the share of modern retail outlets, this industry could finally hit its stride."
- Africa needs more than petrodollars
"Mining, oil, and gas contribute significantly to Africa's GDP, but these sectors employ less than 1 per cent of the workforce. Africa needs a jobs strategy, not just a growth strategy. Countries need explicit programmes to create jobs, targeted at labour-intensive sectors that enjoy comparative advantage."
- The future for Africa looks bright – but there's still a lot of work to be done
More than 300 million Africans will remain in vulnerable jobs in 2020. And even if governments are successful at promoting job creation, the number will keep rising for at least another 20 years because the labour force is expanding so quickly.
Africa's employment challenge is daunting, but it is not unique. Many other emerging markets have transformed their employment landscapes and made sweeping gains in economic growth, and with the right policies in place, Africa has the right ingredients to produce similar success. Africa may prove to be one of the next great global stories.
Source: The Independent