For many of Africa’s people, rapid growth and rising wealth has failed to translate into better lives. The Africa Progress Report 2012 looks at three of the most critical ingredients for transforming a promising economic upturn into a sustained recovery and lasting human development – jobs, justice and equity.
Africa’s economies are consistently growing faster than those of almost any other region – and at twice the rate of the 1990s. For the first time in over a generation, the number of people living in poverty has fallen. Fewer children are dying before their fifth birthday and more are getting into school. Democracy is growing deeper roots. Governance standards are improving.
Yet there is another side to the balance sheet. Countries across Africa are becoming richer but whole sections of society are being left behind. After a decade of buoyant growth, almost half of Africans still live on less than $1.25 a day. Wealth disparities are increasingly visible. The current pattern of trickle-down growth is leaving too many people in poverty, too many children hungry and too many young people without jobs. Unequal access to health, education, water and sanitation is reinforcing wider inequalities. Smallholder agriculture has not been part of the growth surge, leaving rural populations trapped in poverty and vulnerability.
The deep, persistent and enduring inequalities in evidence across Africa have consequences. They weaken the bonds of trust and solidarity that hold societies together. Over the long run, they will undermine economic growth, productivity and the development of markets.
The Africa Progress Report 2012 highlights jobs because livelihoods play such a fundamental role in people’s life-chances – and because Africa urgently needs to create jobs for a growing youth population. It highlights justice and equity because they are missing from the lives of too many Africans, making the present growth socially unsustainable.
Africa Progress Report 2011
The 2011 Africa Progress Report focuses on the transformative power of partnerships to drive sustained social and economic development. The report highlights the comparatively swift and broad recoveries from the global financial and economic crises that many African economies have made but warns that the ‘low quality’ of this growth could threaten its sustainability and is undermining the continent’s development chances. The report argues that harnessing the energy, creativity and resources of public, private and third-sector parties will be vital to speeding development in Africa, it argues.
Africa Progress Report 2010
The 2010 Africa Progress Report argues that Africa’s growth needs to be measured not just in GDP figures but also by the degree to which it brings social benefits for all its people. Focusing on Africa’s emergence as a “new economic frontier”, the Report notes that economic engagement with the Global South – China, the Far and Middle East, South Asia and Latin America – is already having a substantial development impact on Africa but that there is room for improvement and more Africans need to benefit.
Africa Progress Report 2009
The 2009 Africa Progress Report argues that as the barriers to progress multiply, the quality of political leadership has become ever more relevant – and Africa is no exception. Accountability is the soundest basis for leadership, and for ensuring that precious financial resources, whether from domestic sources or donors, are best used to deliver tangible results.