Brookings Mountain West presents “Three African Futures” a talk by John Page, senior fellow, Global Economy and Development.
Africa has experienced a remarkable turn-around in economic performance since 1995. It grew at around 4.6 percent per year during the first decade of the 21st century, and the region boasts three of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries. Cheerleaders as diverse as the Economist and the World Bank have branded Africa the developing world’s next “frontier market”. But beneath the headlines lie some disturbing realities. Africa is not creating enough good jobs – those capable of paying decent wages and providing opportunities to develop skills – and it is not reducing poverty at the same rate as other parts of the developing world. The sources of growth remain heavily concentrated in rising commodity prices and new discoveries of natural resources. This lecture looks at the economic prospects for Africa through the lens of three stylized African futures – business as usual, a dominant role for natural resources, and a new strategy for growth – to provide a deeper understanding of the possibilities and constraints African governments face as they try to secure shared prosperity for the continent.