By: Deonta D. Wortham
For the past decade the African content has seen an unprecedented period of economic growth. Forged by a select group of economies, the ongoing economic cycle has been propelled by economic momentum that has not been seen since the rise of the infamous “Asian Tigers” in the last quarter of the previous century.
Though, as the continent has witnessed this unprecedented period of economic virility, persistent inequalities have prevented nearly one billion Africans from reaping the benefits of this so called “ boom.”
Today, with nearly 18 million young Africans entering the labor force annually, rising female labor force participating rates, and the continent’s increasingly prominent role on the international economic stage, continued inaction in the realm of public policy will only undermine economic strides seen across the continent.
As Donald Kaberuka, former President of the African Development Bank (ADB) has stated, “[The continent] has had strong economic growth, now we must turn it into economic transformation.”
The ADB has noted it is time to “reduce inequalities and promote inclusion,” ensuring that the possibility of acquiring “decent [employment], a living wage, access to basic governments, and [participating in functioning democracies]” is available to every African.
As the popular adage goes, “You can't eat GDP growth.”
Now is the time to ensure that the economic strides that are seen across the continent are met with sound fiscal economic policies that benefit the majority of Africa’s citizens. Ignoring this fact will only increase the various inequities currently seen across the continent.
At last week's World Economic Forum on Africa, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town, South Africa, a small panel involving various international actors discussed this very topic. In a lively thirty minute “briefing” Winnie Byanyima, Phuzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Jennifer Blanke, and Edward Ndopu addressed how private and public actors can work together to ensure that Africa’s continued economic rise benefits individuals across the continent.
Without further ado, here is a thoroughly thought provoking discussion on the importance of economic inclusivity brought to you by the World Economic Forum.