Despite Africa’s growth at 3.4% in 2019, AfDB boss says ‘No one eats GDP’

THE 2020 African Economic Outlook (AEO) report says economic growth has been stabilized at 3.4 per cent, indicating an improved economy, yet, Akinwumi Adesina, President of African Development Bank (ADB) says ‘No one eats GDP (Gross Domestic profit)’.

Adesina said this on a premise that only about a third of African countries achieved inclusive growth, reducing poverty and inequality showing the growth had been less than inclusive.

With the theme; ‘Developing Africa’s Workshop for the Future’, the AEO said Africa still lags behind other developing regions especially in education and skill development despite progress in recent decades.

According to the AEO report, beyond a stable growth at 3.4 per cent in 2019, Africa is expected to pick up to 3.9 per cent in 2020 and 4.1 per cent in 2021 “but to remain below historical highs”.

Adesina said such records showed that the continent’s economies are growing well, higher than the global average, thus, projecting a steady rise in growth in Africa.

Conversely,  he said the report does not tell the whole story across the continent because the poor are still not seeing enough of the benefits of robust growth.

“Relatively few African countries posted significant declines in extreme poverty and inequality, which remain higher than in other regions of the world.






     

     

    With inclusive growth having ocurred in only 18 of 48 African countries with data, Adesina said, “Growth must be visible. Growth must be equitable. Growth must be felt in the lives of people”.

    Emphasizing on the need for education, the AEO report urges for policy actions, which should measure up to improve both the quantity and the quality of education and align education policy with labour market needs.

    “This requires expanding access to schools in remote areas, increasing incentives to invest in education, developing a demand-driven education system that caters to employers’ needs, investing in nutrition to help poorer children, and building STEM and ICT capacity.

    “Africa is blessed with resources, but its future lies in its people…education is the great equaliser. Only by developing our workforce will we make a dent in poverty, close the income gap between rich and poor, and adopt new technologies to create jobs in knowledge-intensive sectors,” Adesina said.

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