Global Development Institute Blog

by Chris Jordan

Over the last few years, African economies have been some of the fastest growing in the world. But significant doubts remain: why aren’t the proceeds of growth doing more to help those at the bottom of the pile, and in any case, is the boom sustainable?

An important report from the Accra based African Centre for Economic Transformation argues that big changes are needed within African countries to ensure that growth is equitable and can be sustained.

The report looks at Brazil, Chile and six Asian countries as exemplars of economies and societies that have made a transformational leap in recent times, and analyses where African countries are lagging behind. It suggests that African policy makers must focus on growth with DEPTH:

  • Diversification of production and exports.
  • Export competitiveness and gains.
  • Productivity increases.
  • Technology upgrading.
  • Human economic well-being improvements, particularly by expanding formal productive employment and raising incomes, that improve people’s lives.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this formula looks remarkably similar to much of  IRIBA’s current research agenda.

The report has been well received by African policy makers, with Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf commending the approach, which provides “great value to African policymakers as they draw up action plans to transform their economies and ensure that growth is sustained to improve the lives of an increasing number of Africans”.

As the IRIBA project starts to focus increasingly on Africa from September, it will be fascinating to see how these debates, and the new evidence we’re able to provide, play out.


This post was originally published at: on May 30 2014