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This year’s economic report on Africa once again underlines the need for industrialization and structural change on the continent to step up its growth.
The economic report entitled “Industrializing Through Trade” states that Africa’s growth accelerated from 3.7 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014.
It says that the growth was mainly driven by improved governance and better macroeconomic management, continued urbanization, a still-rising middle class that is driving aggregate demand, diversified trade and investment ties with emerging economies, and tighter regional integration and trade partnerships in the region.
According to Adam Elhiraika, Director of the Macroeconomic Policy Division at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Africa’s growth prospect remains very positive.
“The prospects are positive with increased private consumption and investment being the key drivers of growth in 2015,” he stated.
The report points out that while some countries such as Nigeria and Senegal took measures to curb public money waste by minimize corruption and inefficiency, other countries such as Ethiopia mobilized revenue through an improved tax policy and collection system.
Africa’s total international reserves decreased by 3.9 percent, from USD 561.4 billion in 2013 to USD 539.6 billion in 2014, and are expected to decrease further to USD 533.5 billion in 2015. The report says that this is mainly due to the weakening reserves among oil-exporting countries.
At the sub-regional level, North Africa has the largest international reserves, driven mainly by the notable oil exporting economies of Algeria and Libya. East Africa has the second-largest reserves, mainly because of high reserves in Burundi, the Comoros and Tanzania. However, they are expected to decrease slightly in 2015, as countries such as Ethiopia prefer to spend resources on development rather than build up more reserves, it states.
As a policy recommendation, the economic report says that Africa needs to translate the current growth into sustainable and inclusive development. In addition to sustaining and improving business, environment, good political and economic governance and management, and social development strategies that are consistent with the needs of the industrial and modern sectors are required.