By Alva M. Wolokolie
As Africa’s growth rates continue to surge with the region increasingly a magnet for investment and tourism, World Bank’s new Africa’s Pulse, a twice-yearly analysis of the issues shaping Africa’s economic prospects has predicted that most of the world’s poor people by 2030 will live in Africa. The report says economic growth in Sub-Saharan (SSA) remains strong with growth forecast to be 4.9% in 2013. Almost a third of countries in the region are growing at 6% and more, and African countries are now routinely among the fastest-growing countries in the world.
Africa’s Pulse notes that poverty and inequality remain “unacceptably high and the pace of reduction unacceptably slow”. Almost one out of every two Africans lives in extreme poverty today. Optimistically, that rate will fall to between 16% and 30% by 2030.
At a telecast conference witnessed by journalists yesterday at World Bank office in Monrovia, the Deputy Regional Chief Economist of World Bank Africa Region Francisco Ferreira said Africa grew faster in the last decade than most other regions, but the impact on poverty is much less than people would have liked.
He indicated that Africa’s growth has not been as powerful in reducing poverty as it could have been because of the high levels of inequality. He said growth with equity is possible, but it requires a decline in inequality in both outcomes and opportunities.
Following the global financial crisis and recurring climatic volatility on the continent, the World Bank Deputy Chief Economist explained that a growing number of African countries are setting up social nets to protect the health and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable people during periods of adversity. Mr. Ferreira mentioned that Africa’s Pulse notes that safety nets can protect families from the worst effects of crisis and also contribute to growth as well by allowing people to raise their incomes.
Mr. Ferreira flanked by World Bank Group’s Vice President for Africa Makhtar Diop said buoyed by rising private investment in the region and remittances now worth US$33 billion a year supporting household incomes GDP growth in Africa will continue to rise and pick up to 5.3% in 2014 and 5.5% in 2015. He added that strong government investments and high production in the mineral resources, agriculture and service sectors are supporting the bulk of the economic growth.