Challenges of African Growth: Opportunities, Constraints, and Strategic Directions

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Poverty in Africa is largely the outcome of slow growth. With the region hosting 10 percent of the world's population but a staggering 30 percent of the world's poor, the challenges it faces are enormous but NOT insurmountable. The message of this book is clear—poverty-eradicating development in Africa is possible. In fact, there are indications that Africa is at a turning point, and there is growing momentum among front-runner economies in the region toward higher and sustained growth. This study challenges African countries and their development partners to consolidate and continue this momentum and to exploit the advantages of the continent as a latecomer, particularly in innovation and in drawing lessons from successful export-led growth experiences in Asia and Latin America.

'Challenges of African Growth' identifies opportunities, constraints, and strategic choices that African countries face in their quest for achieving the growth necessary for poverty alleviation. More important, the study provides a broad menu of stategic options for ensuring not only that countries embark on a growth path, but also that the growth is shared and sustainable. The critical areas for action rest on four pillars: the investment climate; infrastructure; innovation for increasing productivity and competitiveness; and institutional capacity.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
A team led by the prominent African economist Ndulu authored thisuseful and up-to-date appraisal of the economic situation in Africa and the major constraints on economic growth there. This genre of policy literature invariably has a strong bias toward hope: whatever the past failures, the discourse goes, things are better now, and a real breakthrough is within reach if the right strategy is followed. In this case, the report argues that the policy and governance deficiencies of today are much less flagrant than those of the past but that the constraints preventing growth are still significant. These include inadequately diversified economies, political instability, poor infrastructure and governance, rapid demographic growth, and an underdeveloped financial sector. The report concludes by advancing a strategy to increase growth. Some readers may protest that the agenda is hardly novel, but the report's emphasis on improving the investment climate, in contrast to its virtual neglect of the social sector and its perfunctory discussion of governance issues, suggests a doctrinal shift inside the World Bank's Africa departments that could be important if it leads to a commensurate shift in lending focus. As always with World Bank publications, the report cites much interesting economic research from its own staff.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821368824
  • Publisher: World Bank Publications
  • Publication date: 4/12/2007
  • Series: Stand Alones Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword     xi
Acknowledgments     xiii
Executive Summary     xv
Abbreviations     xxi
Facing the Challenges of African Growth: Opportunities, Constraints, and Strategic Directions     1
Poverty in Africa: Largely a Growth Challenge     4
Breaking Out of the Low-Growth Syndrome-A Daunting Task but a Real Possibility     9
The Report: An Overview     11
Notes     31
Africa's Long-Term Growth Experience in a Global Perspective     33
Evolution     35
Benchmarking against Asian Economies     37
Diversity across Africa     39
Sectoral Composition     53
Conclusions     55
Notes     56
Explaining the African Growth Record: What Appears to Matter Most     57
Sources of Economic Growth: Lessons from Growth Accounting     58
Doing Business in Africa: The Investment Climate-Transaction Costs, Risk, Capacity     66
Indigenous Entrepreneurs and Minority-Owned Firms     75
Benchmarking of Growth Conditions in African Countries     78
Conclusions     97
Notes     97
Constraints to Growth     99
Africa's Unfavorable Endowments: A Constraintto Growth but Not a Predicament     100
Natural Resources-Curse and Potential     116
Risks and Uncertainty     118
Weak Institutional Capacity     130
The Financial Sector as a Constraint to Growth     130
Low Savings     136
Conclusions     141
Notes     142
Tackling the Challenges of African Growth     143
Lessons from a Half-Century of Africa's Growth Experience     145
Changing Contexts and Emerging Opportunities     148
The Changing International Economic Environment-New Opportunities and New Challenges     151
Opportunities and Options for Growth Strategies     154
Key Strategic Challenges     156
Mobilizing Resources for Growth     188
Conclusions     199
Notes     200
Empirical Analysis of Influential Factors of Growth in Africa     203
Estimating the Growth Model     203
Influential Factors of Growth and Data     205
Results     214
Notes     217
Bibliography     219
Index     237
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