The Africa Competitiveness Report 2017

Title The Africa Competitiveness Report 2017
Author Name African Development Bank, World Economic Forum, and World Bank Group


The 2017 edition of The Africa Competitiveness Report comes out at a transitional time for the region. Low commodity prices and reduced growth in emerging markets and advanced economies have contributed to slow growth in the majority of African countries, following a decade of sustained GDP growth (above 5 percent). However, slower GDP growth has also given impetus to reforms and economic diversification in some countries. Such reforms continue to be necessary because of the demographic changes the continent is undergoing. Africa is expected to double its population over the next 25 years, and it is the only region in the world where the working-age population is projected to continue expanding beyond 2035. African is also urbanizing rapidly, and more than half of its population will live in cities over the same period. Such rapid growth of Africa's working-age population has been halled as a possible boost to regional economic growth. However, there is no teleology leading from population growth to job creation. The incidence of unemployment and underemployment among African youth is high. Absent a policy environment that supports rapid job creation, large youth and working-age cohorts can constitute a potential source of social and political vulnerability.

Economists, policymakers, and business leaders largely agree that slow progress in raising competitiveness and productivity are at the heart of the limited ability of African economies to offer better employment opportunities. A significant body of analysis has identified the main bottlenecks to improving these factors. These have also been identified and discussed in previous editions of The Africa Competitiveness Report. The 2011 edition focused on how to reinforce managerial skills and higher education, the 2013 edition discussed export diversification, and the 2015 edition examined constraints Report leverages the research and expertise in job creation and urbanization that have been carried out by its partner organizations - the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum - to explore what policies need to be implemented to enable Africa to reap its potential demographic dividend.

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