The 2012 edition of Economic Report on Africa (ERA) released indicates that, Africa has the potential to be a pole of global growth and calls for unleashing the continent’s full potential to fully play the role.
The report titled: “Unleashing Africa’s Potential as a Pole of Global Growth,” was launched in Addis Ababa, and copied to Ghana News Agency on Thursday. It examined recent developments in the world economy and implications for Africa, and analysed the economic and social prospects for 2012.
The joint flagship publication of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and African Union (AU), proposed a clear plan on how to unleash the continent’s development capacity and mobilise resources for its structural transformation.
Mr Abdalla Hamdok, Deputy Executive Secretary of ECA said: “If Africa is to become a bonafide pole for global growth, she needs to sustain her current growth momentum for another two decades and implement bold and innovative reforms on the political and economic governance front.
“Africa needs to be prepared to reap the potential benefits of this momentum,” he stressed. Mr Hamdok outlined the need for structural reforms, as well as infrastructure, innovation and value chain as some of the key areas that needed attention in the report. “We also need to address climate change impacts and reform Africa’s educational systems critical to ensure relevance,” he added.
Mr Hamdok underscored innovation and technology transfer as a key to increasing value-addition in Africa’s economic transformation; and singled out the Innovation Prize for Africa awarded this week to outstanding innovators as an example of how ECA and the Africa Innovation Foundation were charting a path in the direction.
“It is our hope that ERA 2012 will help stimulate discussions and debate among stakeholders, including the international business community on the key actions needed to unleash Africa’s potential as a pole for global growth,” he said.
Commenting on the report, AU Commissioner Maxwell Mkwezalamba referred to ERA 2012 as a seminal piece of work, which: “Takes a cautious and nuanced approach to current growth rates.”
He added: “If Africa leapfrogs her development, sustains economic performance, ensure broad-based growth, with a hands-on developmental state, we will see multiplier effects.” Mr Mkwezalamba emphasized that Africa should be ready to seize the opportunities presented by the new impetus.
“We are confident that 'ERA 2012' will provide insightful policy recommendations and provoke discussions on how Africa can better take charge of her development trajectory to improve the lives of the people,” he added.
Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie, Director, Economic Development and New Partnership for Africa’s Development Division at the ECA and Dr Rene KouassiN’guetta, Director of Economic Affairs of the African Union Commission made presentations on the report’s key messages, highlighting not just the achievements but challenges as well.
Prof Nnadozie noted that the global economic crisis was bad for Africa and it was therefore in the continent’s interest to have a high performing economy through increased trade, investments and remittances, “all of which are necessary for growth, employment and poverty reduction”.
Stressing that, Africans and the rest of the world should see Africa as part of the solution, he cautioned that “The world needs a new dynamo - a new driver and Africa is on the verge of economic take-off that can propel growth based on market size, population dynamics, better management of our natural resources and improving conditions for these developments to occur”.
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