bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 5, Issue 14 — 19 July 2012
Africa Progress Panel
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Africa's Olympic talent needs nurture and support
Africa's young and growing population means a deeper pool of potential Olympic talent, but sporting success is far from guaranteed. The same is true for African economies.
Africa's Olympic hopefuls have plenty to teach about succeeding against the odds.Training in bullet-scarred stadiums and a capital torn by war, Somalia's Olympic athletes have faced death threats and a bomb attack that killed major sporting officials.
A showcase for their rainbow nation, Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim come from radically different backgrounds. One is white with a successful yachting father. The other is black and comes from a Cape Town township. They will race together in a two-man sailing event for South Africa.Meanwhile, at just 15 years old, Alphonsine Agahozo will swim for Rwanda, "land of a thousand hills," which has no tradition of swimming.
Whatever Africa's final medal tally this year, its rapid population growth - faster than any other continent - means a growing pool of potential and the possibility for more African medals in the future. Between about 2000 and 2025, for example, Africa's population is set to double. And youth has become a defining feature of Africa's demography.
Whether or not Africa will actually harness this potential is another question, of course. The same is true for African economies. On the one hand, a growing workforce is an opportunity. As the workforce grows in relation to the number of old or young dependents, both productivity and economic growth can increase - as we began to see in China several decades ago. On the other hand, if population growth outruns job creation, then we will likely see a young and growing population that is unemployed, marginalized, and deeply frustrated.
The Arab Awakening may have taken many by surprise, but a critical common thread was the shared sense of frustration and anger over unresponsive governments, and the lack of jobs, justice, and equity. Why shouldn't sub-Saharan Africa be vulnerable to the same frustrations?
As we noted in our 2012 Annual Progress Report, African economies are among the fastest growing in the world and we have seen some good progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, but progress remains slow and too uneven. Population growth places enormous extra pressure on policy makers to perform.
Take the case of Nigeria. Africa's most populous country is already struggling to generate enough future job opportunities for its current generation of 0-14 year-olds. But within a decade this age bracket will stretch by another 25 million people. And as with the nurturing of Olympic talent, it is one thing to have a growing pool of potential athletes and another to generate results.
Meanwhile, Africa's mega cities are also growing at a prolific rate. Pushed by rural poverty and pulled by the hope of employment, more and more people are migrating to the cities. Between 2005 and 2010, Kinshasa's population grew by 2 million, for example, putting it into the league of cities with populations larger than 10 million. Lagos could have a 14 million population by 2020.
Urban centres are often centres of acute deprivation. But they should be hubs of innovation and employment, drawing entrepreneurs and job seekers. Policies that tap into Africa's natural innovation and creativity will reward us all with higher, more equitable economic growth. And maybe increased Olympic success!
- While Islamists have made political gains in every other post-Arab spring election, their gains were limited in Libya’s first free nationwide vote in half a century. The landslide victory of a liberal alliance (Libya’s National Forces Alliance) over rival Islamist parties in Libya’s July 7 poll brings hope for optimism and signal brighter future the country. Final official results are not due until next week. But with a large majority of votes counted, speculation is growing that Jibril could emerge from the process as Libya's next leader.
- African leaders have ended their 19th bi-annual summit that saw the election of South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the first female head of the African Union Commission and a renewed pledge to push democracy and fast-track resolution of crises in the continent's hotspots. The end of the leadership battle, which was marked by a sharp polarization between Anglophone and Francophone countries, has infused new hope in the continent about the AU's new leadership to resolve formidable challenges facing the continent amid the global slowdown. The partisan politics is behind, and the dominant sentiment is now one of African unity, solidarity and integration.
- European countries have this week been sending mixed messages on Zimbabwe's future, in terms of the restrictive sanctions still in place against Robert Mugabe's regime. Therefore, plans for re-engagement between the European Union and Zimbabwe remain unclear as no decision has been made to lift the sanctions imposed on the southern African nation.
- Sudan and South Sudan promise to settle unresolved issues over territory and oil, a few days from the August 2 deadline fixed by the UN Security Council in May, which threatened sanctions if the two countries had failed to reach any agreement by that time.
- AfDB opens a $33million water and sanitation project in Ethiopia
- AfDB grants $40 million for budget support to Malawi
- Private equity investment in Africa more than tripled to $3 billion in 2011, according to AfDB
- AfDB supports economic reforms in Burundi with US$ 18 million
- AU seeks strong intra-Africa trade among its members to enhance Africa’s worldwide competitiveness
- AU presses for government reform in Mali
- COMESA, the EAC and the SADC sign the Tripartite Agreement for the implementation of the programme on Climate Change adaptation and Mitigation in Eastern and Southern Africa
- The EAC and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) sign an agreement to strengthen and broaden cooperation in the areas of economic, social and cultural development throughout East Africa
- EAC moves to protect small industries from regional competition
- EAC earns $202 million from exports to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) project
- ECOWAS and NEPAD sign an agreement worth €1 million for the empowerment of Africa's rural women entrepreneurs
- Mali’s Prime Minister presents ECOWAS a transitional roadmap for returning the country to civilian rule
- EU to send experts to Niger to counter al Qaeda threat
- EU sets up mission to help Sahel nations combat crime and terrorism
- EU launches new mission to fight piracy in Horn of Africa
- IMF sees 2012 rebound in Angola economy despite lower oil price
- Malawi says aid flowing back with IMF backing
- World Bank gives Malawi $110 million for financing of the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach (ASWAP) investment program and Nutrition and HIV and AIDS national response program
- World Bank approves an additional International Development Association (IDA) grant of $75 million to help improve primary health care for 11 million people in DRC
- World Bank approves grant of $95 million to support the eradication of Polio in Nigeria
- World Bank approves new power transmission line between Ethiopia and Kenya to boost electricity and economic growth in East Africa
In the blogs...
- The Guardian’s Poverty Matters blog: Africa’s millions of young people must add up to demographic dividend, 17 July 2012 – APP Panel Member and Governor of the Bank of Botswana, Linah Mohohlo, argues that the rising ratio of working age people to dependents can boost African economies, but only with education, training and jobs.
- The Economist’s Baobab blog: Little to cheer about (video), 16 July 2012 As South Sudan celebrates one year of independence, the narrator looks behind the festivities and argues that a growing economic and social crisis is threatening to overwhelm the infant nation.
- From Poverty to Power: Horizon 2025: The future of aid, 13 July 2012 Duncan Green discusses the Overseas Development Institute’s latest paper, ‘Horizon 2025: Creative destruction in the aid industry’. He states that while it may not be “the last word” on the future of development, it does offer some important insights.
- Thought Leader: Keeping Africa’s growth up, poverty down, 9 July 2012 – Lee-Roy Chetty argues that bolstering economic growth in Africa is not enough and that policy-makers need to work towards ensuring that growth translates into broader gains in human welfare and that benefits of development accrue more evenly.
- allAfrica.com: AU should stand up and be counted, 17 July 2012 – The author argues that as the AU welcomes Nkasozana Dlamini-Zuma as the Head of the AU Commission, it should take the opportunity to show strong leadership and tackle problems in Africa that could threaten the continent’s progress.
- The Daily Maverick: Mandela Day: Time for the next generation to take control, 17 July 2012 – Jay Naidoo argues that Nelson Mandela’s legacy is not as it should be and that as we celebrate his 94th birthday this week, we need to act against the “rising tide of political arrogance and corruption” in South Africa and return to the values of service to the people.
- The Huffington Post: Africa offers new partnership for global health, 17 July 2012
Michel Sidibé discusses the AU’s “Roadmap for shared responsibility and global solidarity for AIDS, TB and Malaria”, which presents a new approach to diversifying sources of health financing, improving access to medicines, and pursuing more effective and equitable health governance.
- The Atlantic: How cellphones are bringing rural Africans into the modern economy, 16 July 2012 – Isobel Coleman discusses the rapid pace of change in mobile banking in Africa. She focuses on Visa’s acquisition of Fundamo last year and how it should push forward the greater inter-operability across systems that is needed for the next stage of growth.
- The New York Times: Obama’s fantastic boring idea, 11 July 2012 – Nicholas D. Kristof argues that although it might seem “boring” that President Obama has made agriculture a focus of his foreign aid programmes, these initiatives are actually smart, cost-effective and potentially transformative.
Africa has an unprecedented opportunity to set a course for sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and a breakthrough in poverty reduction. But this cannot be achieved without the full participation of young people.
- Linah Mohohlo, Member of Africa Progress Panel
- Australia seeks to join the African Development Bank
- African hunger crisis needs new approach, according to Australian aid report
- East Africa could be Australia’s greatest liquefied natural gas (LNG) competitor
- BRICS investment in South Africa mining sector to grow
- BRICS to form working groups on trade and investment promotion
- Canada won't send military mission to Mali, according to Foreign Affairs Minister
- Canadian company, Africa Oil, finds more oil in Turkana Well
- Under the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Chinese and African ministers meet to review cooperation and prepare a new development plan for the next three years
- A new collaborative China/Africa private equity fund that embraces value-adding beneficiation in Africa, has been launched to boost mining on the continent
- China-Africa trade grows, hits historic high
- Britain will contribute £500m to help save the life of a woman or girl in the developing world every two hours up to 2020
- US Senate panel okays renewal of Africa clothing trade benefit
- US military steps up 'sustained engagement' with Africa
- President Barack Obama proposes a new US-EAC Trade and Investment Partnership that calls for a regional investment treaty that will ensure the fair and equitable treatment of investors
- According to a World Bank report entitled “Information and Communications for Development 2012: Maximizing Mobile,” around three-quarters of the world’s inhabitants now have access to a mobile phone.
- As 2015 draws near, Africa has effectively engaged in the process of defining the contours of the post-2015 development agenda, according to the UNECA/AfDB/UNDP MDG 2012 Report: ‘Assessing Progress in Africa toward the MDGs.
- A new report by Save the Children, “Ending the everyday emergency: Resilience and children in the Sahel”, demonstrates that shortage of food is only part of the crisis. Even more important is a ‘resilience deficit’ among vulnerable families.
- UNAIDS recently published “Together we will end AIDS”, which contains the latest data on numbers of new HIV infections, numbers of people receiving antiretroviral treatment, AIDS-related deaths and HIV among children.
|20 July||9th Conference of the Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries: Maputo, Mozambique|
|22 - 27 July||XIX International AIDS Conference: Washington, D.C., United States|
|23 July||2nd Meeting of the EAC Secretary-General and CEOs of regional businesses in Rwanda: Kigali, Rwanda|
|23 - 26 July||International Conference on Managing Soils for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation : Vienne, Austria|
|31 July||Kenya Investment Summit: London, United Kingdom|
|17 August||Swiss Annual Conference on Development Cooperation on "Aid Effectivenness:" Bern, Switzerland|
|26-31||August World Water Week: 2012 Water and Food Security|
|1-7||September United Nations World Urban Forum: Naples, Italy|