bulletin of the AFRICA PROGRESS PANELVolume 5, Issue 9 — 4 May 2012
Africa Progress Panel
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Jobs, Justice & Equity
Africa is rising and African economies are growing faster than those of almost any other region in the world. However, the current pattern of trickle-down growth is not benefitting many people stuck in a spiral of poverty. Indeed, benefits measured by poverty reduction, maternal mortality and childhood survival fall far short of what Africans have a right to expect.
The 2012 Africa Progress Report, which will be launched next week during the World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, looks at the issues around jobs, justice and equity that are needed to ensure that Africa's impressive economic growth is translated into shared growth for all Africans.
Commentary on Africa has swung from episodes of pessimism to bouts of euphoria. In the early 2000s, after a decade of slow economic growth and even slower human development, The Economist called Africa "the hopeless continent". Last year, The Economist ran with a very different headline: "Africa rising: the hopeful continent". Another widely cited report noted that Africa has now become a continent of economic "lions on the move". Others have focused on Africa's "rising middle class", the "dynamic African consumer market", and "growth opportunities for investors".
In the forthcoming 2012 Africa Progress Report, the Africa Progress Panel will argue that the current wave of unchecked optimism surrounding Africa is as misplaced as the extreme pessimism expressed a decade ago. Despite the real gains made, after a decade of strong economic growth, there are still deep and enduring inequalities in evidence across the continent. These inequalities are ethically indefensible, economically inefficient, and politically destabilizing.
The future is never entirely predictable - but there are three areas, covered in detail in the report, in which the Panel believes that policy failure today will have highly predictable, and damaging, consequences for the future.
The first is youth unemployment, which renders countries increasingly vulnerable to political and social instabilities. Africa must reap its demographic dividend to harness youth potential and create just and prosperous societies. The second area that requires urgent policy attention is smallholder farmers, where there is potential for dramatically increased productivity and employment. The third area is a final push towards achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, as discussed in my 19 April editorial for AllAfrica.
Africa was never a "hopeless continent". It was - and remains - a region of immense potential, much of it unfulfilled. With decisive and more transparent leadership and sustained and transparent support from aid partners and the private sector, there is now an opportunity to unlock that potential and to set course for a future of shared prosperity, more equal opportunity, and greater political stability.
The above themes are discussed at length in the 2012 Africa Progress Panel Report, which will be launched at the World Economic Forum in Addis Ababa in May 2012.
(*APP bi-weekly editorial as featured on allafrica.com).
In a landmark ruling, the Special Court for Sierra Leone found former Liberian President Charles Taylor guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone’s notoriously brutal civil war. The verdict is said to have brought some justice to victims of the war and many believe it will act as a warning to other tyrants. Some analysts believe, however, that it is a double-edged sword and that it could hinder peace negotiations.
Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Sunday decreed a state of emergency along much of the country's border with South Sudan, paving the way for broad powers of arrest and special courts. Hostilities between the two countries ratcheted higher this month over cross-border incursions by armed groups. A lingering dispute over oil fees is at the heart of these tensions.
In Zimbabwe, a draft constitution has finally been submitted to the government, almost two years behind schedule. The Movement for Democratic Change hopes the new Constitution will end Zanu-PF’s 30-year hold over the country and have hailed the document as “the first step towards democracy”.
The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has dismissed the governments latest bid to have four Kenyans facing charges at the ICC, arguing that for many years Kenya was unwilling to put in place a special tribunal or use its judicial framework to seek justice for victims so the ICC should be left to do its work. The ICC has since elected Justice Kuniko Ozaki to preside over the cases.
For the first time ever, scientists have mapped out the underground reservoirs of water throughout Africa and huge water reserves reportedly found. The researchers say their maps indicate that many countries currently designated as “water scarce” have substantial groundwater reserves and that they hope their maps will open people’s eyes to the potential.
- Sudan agrees to AU roadmap for peace with South Sudan, though retains its right to self-defense
- AU Commission hold talks in Tunisia on “Strengthening of Political Governance for Peace, Security and Stability in Africa”
- EAC states urged to arrest Rwanda genocide suspects
- The EAC backs the transfer of the Kenyan post-elections violence cases from the Hague to Arusha
- Ecowas readies targeted sanctions against Guinea-Bissau Junta
- Three Ecowas countries get $4.5 million aid for refugees
- EIB launches €50 million East Africa microfinance programme aimed at encouraging job creation and increasing access to long-term funding for micro and small enterprises
- EIB pledges €70 million to finance SMEs in Kenya
- EU grants €8 million to Clima Dev programme, a flagship initiative in the Africa-EU Partnership aimed to strengthen Africa’s response to climate change
- IAEA warns that if energy use continues at today's rates, emissions of greenhouse gases could increase 33% by the end of the decade and nearly 100% by midcentury, thus pushing the world's energy to breaking point
- The IMF launches Institute for Capacity Development to spearhead its enhanced strategy for capacity-building services for its member countries
- IMF and African policy makers discuss the global economic crisis during a meeting of the African Consultative Group
- UN Security Council renews sanctions on Cote d'Ivoire for another year
- UN trade official encourages expansion of organic farming in Africa
- According to UNICEF, one million children are at risk of dying from malnutrition in the Sahel
- Developed and developing countries alike expressed strong commitment to the strengthening of UNCTAD
- With World Bank support, Mozambique to extend crucial early childhood development services to 84,000 children in 600 rural communities
- According to the World Bank, social safety net programmes are on the rise in Africa
In the blogs...
- The world Bank’s Africa Can…End Poverty blog: Five reasons why Kenya and Africa should take off, 2 May 2012 – Wolfgang Fengler, the World Bank’s Lead Economist in Kenya, discusses five reasons why Africa will likely become an emerging region over the next decade.
- From poverty to power: Building accountability in Tanzania: Applying an evolutionary/venture capitalist theory of change, 27 April 2012 – Duncan Green, Head of Research for Oxfam GB, discusses Oxfam’s accountability project in Tanzania, Chukua Hatua, and the effects and consequences thereof.
- African Arguments: Senegal and Mali: Some thoughts on West African Democracy, 26 April 2012 – The author discusses ‘civilian coups’ in Africa, focusing particularly on Senegal, and argues that they can be just as serious and damaging as military coups.
- Impatient Optimists: The rise and fall of conflicts in Africa, 26 April 2012 – Laurie Lee, Deputy Director of External Communications in Europe and Africa for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, discusses the decline of internal and external conflicts in Africa since 1993 and the effects thereof on economic growth and social development.
- The Huffington Post: Rethinking Africa: 13 ways the continent is changing, 5 May 2012 – Academic Stephen Ellis discusses 13 ways Africa is changing, from population growth to urbanization, economic growth, and agriculture.
- Business Day South Africa: A historical snapshot shows optimism may be misplaced, 30 April 2012 – The author argues that the idea that the current economic upsurge in Africa is guaranteed for the next 30-40 years is based on assumptions and trajectories akin to futurology rather than measured economics built on known historiographies.
- The Atlantic: Why natural resources are a curse on developing countries and how to fix it, 30 April 2012 – The author discusses the “resource curse” and suggests several steps the international community can take to help break it.
- allAfrica.com: The importance of the Charles Taylor verdict for Africa, 26 April 2012 – The author argues that the guilty verdict by the Special Court for Sierra Leone against Liberia’s former president, Charles Taylor, is important for both Africa and the international community.
- Mail and Guardian: Robust political institutions give nations the power to succeed, 26 April 2012 – The author argues that inclusive political institutions lead to progressive economic institutions and that South Africans, along with the rest of Africa, have to demand political inclusivity if they hope to keep growing.
Africa has an opportunity to end chronic poverty, raise the standard of living, increase security and generate employment.
- Strive Masiyiwa, Founder of Econet Wireless
- Brazil’s BTG Pactual Bank creates $1 billion private equity fund focused on Africa with the aim of attracting Brazilians to invest in the continent
- Zimbabwe proposes trade fairs to BRICS nations in an attempt to enhance business opportunities with the bloc
- BRICS leaders commit to forming a development bank that would cater to the needs of developing countries
- Canada calls for calm in Mali, urging Malians to support the transitional government as it works to restore democracy and constitutional order in Mali
- China to loan South Sudan $8 billion for infrastructure development
- India Bharti Airtel’s revenue rises in Africa. The company reported a 16 per cent growth in revenue in its Africa operation during the quarter ended March 31 over the like period of the previous financial year
- Nigeria’s trade with India hits $16.4 billion, with Nigeria having the trade balance in its favour with $11 billion
- South Africa's science minister, Naledi Pandor, calls on African scientists to produce and implement research to solve African health problems
- Britain’s increased support for water and sanitation will help more than 60 million people in the poorest countries get access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation
- UK Government and IFC to start a banking finance facility to help nearly a quarter of a million entrepreneurs in the poorest countries access capital over the next seven years and create almost one million new jobs
- US conglomerate, Amatex Technologies Corporation, to invest $50 billion in crude oil refining and infrastructure in Nigeria
- US President, Barack Obama, invites African leaders to G8 summit to take part in a session on food security in Africa
- UNDP’s report titled “Taking Stock of Durban: Review of Key Outcomes and the Road Ahead,” reviews the UNFCCC history; the outcomes of COP 17 to the UNFCCC, held in 2011 in Durban, South Africa; and the opportunities and challenges that the climate change negotiations will face in the coming years.
- IMF and the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report 2012 entitled “Food Prices, Nutrition, and the Millennium Development Goals,” highlights the need to help developing countries deal with the harmful effects of higher and more volatile food prices.
- According to a report entitled “Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa”by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), approximately 1% to 2.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of African countries and $5.5 billion is lost annually due to inadequate sanitation.
- A database by Landmatrix shows that nearly 5% of the agricultural land in Africa has been purchased or leased by outside investors over the past decade.
- According to an AfDB report entitled ‘Unlocking North Africa’s potential through regional integration’, the Arab Spring could spur growth through regional integration in North Africa. The report reviews the prospects for the region as new democratically elected governments seek to promote inclusive growth and build institutions for good governance.
- Eritrea has become the world’s worst nation in terms of censorship, according to a new report by the Committee to Protect Journalists entitled '10 worst censored countries: A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists'. Equatorial Guinea is ranked fifth.
|9-11 May||World Economic Forum on Africa: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|11 May||Launch of 2012 Africa Progress Report: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia|
|13-18 May||World Congress on Water: Dublin, Ireland|
|16-18 May||G20 labour ministerial meeting: Guadalajara, Mexico|
|15-22 May G8 Annual summit||: Camp David, United States of America|
|22-23 May||OECD Forum 2012 on “Inequality”: Paris, France|
|24 May||Africa Day Business Roundtable & Dinner organized by CBC, in collaboration with the AU Heads of Diplomatic Mission: London, United Kingdom|
|28 May- 1 June||AfDB Annual Meetings 2012 on “Africa and the emerging global landscape: challenges & opportunities: Arusha, Tanzania|