"A growing labor force and a large and emerging consumer market hold the promise of significant growth opportunities"
Without urgent action to address low levels of competitiveness, Africa’s economies will not create enough jobs for the young people entering the job market. If current policies remain unchanged, fewer than one-quarter of the 450 million new jobs needed in Africa in the next 20 years will be created. Priorities to meet the changing demographics include policy reform to improve the quality of institutions, infrastructure, skills and adoption of new technology. House construction and better urban planning present opportunities for short-term competitiveness gains.
The report finds that the ability of Africa’s economies to generate enough jobs for its young and growing population rests on the successful implementation of urgent structural reforms to boost productivity. Competitiveness is defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity, and hence future prosperity, of a country. The report, which covers North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, comes at a time when growth in most of the region’s economies has been slowing after a decade of sustained growth. Further stagnation is likely in the absence of improvements in the core conditions for competitiveness. Compounding the challenge to Africa’s leaders is a rapidly expanding population.
This Knowledge Note is a condensed form of a report from the key findings of the Africa Competitiveness Report 2017, a biennial publication jointly produced by the World Economic Forum, the African Development Bank, and the World Bank Group. To learn more, please access the full paper here.