Africa’s Development Dynamics 2019
“Despite sustained growth and progress in advancing regional integration, West African countries remain at a competitive disadvantage; high GDP growth rates in West Africa have not translated into real productive transformation”, finds the second edition of the Africa’s Development Dynamics 2019 report, which was jointly launched by the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre at the 11th Private Sector Forum in Antananarivo, Madagascar on 5 November 2019. The 2019 edition focuses on the theme, “achieving productive transformation.” Available in English, French and Portuguese, the report includes five regionally-focused chapters (Southern Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, North Africa and West Africa). It proposes public policies areas that could support the region’s productive transformation. West African economies continue to rely heavily on the export of unprocessed raw materials. They face difficulties in boosting industrialisation, improving competitiveness and moving up the value chains. The report recommends five strategic policies to accelerate the productive transformation of raw materials in situ: 1) strengthening regional complementarities, 2) improving entrepreneurial innovation, 3) facilitating access to markets, 4) rationalising tax policy and 5) ensuring better access to energy and land. Moreover, Africa needs more dynamic businesses to turn economic opportunities into bigger profits, more investment and new jobs. This is especially true of small and medium-sized businesses in employment-intensive sectors. “The entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area in 2019 marks a strong commitment by African leaders towards productive transformation. But it only will work if African firms are strong enough to compete in this new, enlarged market. They need bolder and smarter government policies to support them,” declared Mario Pezzini, director of the OECD Development Centre. Key findings from the report will also be discussed during the 19th International Economic Forum on Africa, scheduled to take place in Madrid on 29 November 2019.