Africa

Call for Sustaining Growth and Building Resilience


Tsitsi Makombe, Julia Collins, and Ousmane Badiane

 

Africa’s sustained economic growth since the early 2000s has been underpinned, in part, by globalization through increased investments, including capital inflows, and by favorable commodity prices that enabled strong export growth. The improved growth performance resulted in declines in poverty, hunger, and malnutrition and enabled a middle class to flourish. However, Africa south of the Sahara still has a high poverty rate and number of poor compared to the other regions of the world. Furthermore, the continent’s dependence on exports of primary commodities leaves it vulnerable to volatile global markets, as witnessed in 2016 when the sharp decline in commodity prices slowed economic growth. Meanwhile, conflicts and increased climate variability continue to threaten food security and nutrition in Africa. In addition, high poverty levels and conflict have forced many Africans to illegally migrate abroad, especially to Europe, under treacherous conditions.
 
In the face of the headwinds of antiglobalism, African countries should focus on implementing broad-based policy reforms that will allow their economies to thrive in a competitive global environment, generate employment, and build resilient food systems and livelihoods. Policy reforms should also promote trade openness, export diversification, and foreign direct investment (FDI) to keep these countries on a path of sustained and inclusive growth and food security.