ACBF’s capacity building efforts remain critical for economic growth in Africa and should underpin the continued emergence of Africa’s lion economies and sustainability of the remarkable economic performance of these economies, said the Foundation’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie at the annual Oxford Africa Conference that was held on 22-23 May 2015.
For the last 24 years, the ACBF has been investing in human capital by training mid-level policy advisors in economics and in public sector management. It has also supported and strengthened the capacity of African institutions through investing in research and policy analysis for policy making, partnering with 35 think tanks across Africa, most of which were established by ACBF.
These investments will prove crucial as they create an environment in which growth will be sustained. “Indeed, a number of African Economies are performing exceptionally well, and are projected to earn a place alongside the Asian Tigers”, noted Prof. Nnadozie. “Economic growth in those countries should spill over to neighbouring countries and regions. Africa must now work to create the right environment for this to happen.”
Moreover, Prof. Nnadozie said that as poles of continental growth, the domino effect the lion economies have on neighbouring countries is important in fostering regional integration, economic integration and structural transformation. “As we all know, countries need ‘good neighbors’ in order to achieve or sustain economic growth,” he added.
“We are focusing on and looking seriously at the capacity needs for sustained growth. The work we – ACBF - do provides support to the continent’s overall objectives, which include structural transformation, regional integration, and economic and inclusive growth.”
Figures from economists show that Africa is the second fastest growing market in the world. The ‘lion economies’ are now more than ever becoming a force to reckon with and the rest of the world is now paying attention. Africa’s GDP is projected to reach $2.6 trillion in 2020 while consumer spending will stand at $1.4 trillion.
According to the World Bank, Africa’s growth rate continues to rise, with sub-Saharan Africa’s 2014 growth rate of 4.6% projected to increase to 5.2% in 2015-16 and 5.3% in 2017; despite increased terrorist attacks and the negative effect of Ebola on economic growth. These projections are well above the developing country average of 3.9%.
Key sectors contributing to Africa's collective GDP growth include natural resources, retail, agriculture, finance, transportation and telecommunications. Improvements in political stability and economic reforms have aided growth.
“This vivid picture of Africa’s vibrant economies suggests that indeed Africa’s traditional economic powerhouses—Egypt in North Africa, Nigeria in West Africa and South Africa in Southern Africa—must transform into real lion economies and serve as locomotives in their various regions” says Prof. Nnadozie
He adds, “Other countries with promising potential whose transformation into lion economies will boost regional transformation are Ethiopia and Kenya in East Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Central Africa.”
The focus of the Oxford Africa Conference was on Africa as “A Continent on the Move: People, Politics and Business across borders”.