The African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2017 shows that the continent’s performance was uneven in 2016, in contrast to socio-economic and governance indicators, however, the prospects were favorable for 2017. The future of the continent for 2016 was bleak due to low commodity prices, sluggish performance in the global economy, gradual deceleration in Chinese growth and the second order effect of Arab Spring. However, the situation was different from the previous years, according to the World Bank reports.
In 2017 and 2018, as economists have forecasted Africa will benefit from commodity prices which started to rise in the latter part of 2016, increasing private demand, including in domestic markets, and sound macroeconomic management, according to the World Bank indicators, over the past decades, the value of trade between Africa and the world has quadrupled as most African countries have undertaken more open policies, and improving their the infrastructure.
African countries have achieved medium to high human development though still development is low and uneven, only five countries are now reported to be on the top list of human development index (HDI), with “Seychelles” being the first in the list, while on the other hand, many other countries have developed their human resources by offering wide packages of demand based technical trainings to their local employees, the continent’s aggregate growth is expected to rise 3.2% in 2018 and 3.5% in 2019 reflecting a recovery in some of the largest economies in the continent.
The “Africa’s Pulse” report dedicates a special section to analyzing the region’s infrastructure performance across sectors revealing dramatic improvement in quantity and quality of telecommunications contrasted by persistent lags in electricity generation and access. “With poverty rates still high, the growth momentum is imperative,” says Punam Chuhan-Pole, World Bank Lead Economist “Growth needs to be more inclusive and will involve tackling the slowdown in investment and the high trade logistics that stand in the way of competitiveness.”
- Investment Opportunity in Africa
A high level forum about investment and trade was held in Sharma El Sheikh, Egypt in 2017. This meeting attracted business leaders and policy makers all across the region; the focus of the forum was on how to stimulate the business opportunities in Africa by creating a conductive environment to investment. Amid a seismic shift in global politics that is resonating across the world’s economies, Africa will need stand fast tall in 2018 if is to position itself effectively in a fast changing climate for international trade, investment and development assistance. The economic acceleration recorded over the last decade was enabled by reforms and improved domestic policies across the region. As stated in the “World Bank Doing Business” 2017 report, the continent is the “second-highest adopter of reforms” and it accounts for over a quarter of all reforms globally.
- Education and Health
Rapid changes in the world – including technological advancement, scientific innovation have created a barrier in developing countries to be on a level with the advanced countries in the West unless this gap is filled, Africa cannot compete with those countries. The 2nd East Africa Education conference was held in 2017 with the emphasis on: “Matching Capabilities” to society’s needs, and to harmonize the educational strategies and teaching methods. This event was a catalyst for debate, best practice, knowledge exchange and partnerships among the practitioners, policymakers and other stakeholders seeking to achieve significantly greater harmony with the region.
On the issue of health most countries are making good progress on preventable childhood illness. Polio is close to eradication, and 37 countries are reaching 60% or more of their children with measles immunization. Overall measles deaths have declined by more than 50% since 1995. In 2005 alone, 75 million children received measles vaccines
- Food Security
Adverse climatic conditions and conflict, often occurring concurrently, are keys factors driving the recent increase in food insecurity in the region. A difficult global economic environment, reflected in falling prices. However, the improvement achieved by many countries manifest that cumulatively, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program has contributed significantly to raising agricultural public investment and growth, reducing poverty and advancing mutual accountability in sub-Sahara Africa.
- Democratic Elections
Last year, 13 democratic elections were held in Africa, this indicates how the continent has transformed from the earlier practices of a single party system to multiparty elections; most of these elections were ended in a good atmosphere with no or little disputes.
Amid these elections, Somaliland was at top of the list, the world turned its attention to this unique elections for it has managed to hold three democratic elections with no financial backing from the international donors. This last election happened peacefully with no single incidence of violence reported in all polling stations throughout the country. Somaliland is a country which is still in a state of de facto since it has reclaimed its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, and is geographically located in an oasis of a relatively unstable region.
By:Abdulqadir Omer Jama
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