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Macroeconomists for the Poor

Quand la croissance économique ne suffit pas?

Luc Christiaensen's picture
Also available in: English

L’économie africaine a progressé à un rythme annuel de 4,5 % entre 1995 et 2013. Cette croissance économique alerte est allée de pair avec des avancées appréciables sur le plan du bien-être des populations : les Africains qui viennent aujourd’hui au monde vivront 6,2 ans de plus que les enfants nés en 2000 ; la prévalence de la malnutrition chronique chez les moins de cinq ans a reculé de six points de pourcentage ; et le nombre de décès dus à des violences politiques a fortement baissé, de 20 (à la fin des années 1990) à quatre par événement violent. De plus, l’émancipation des individus gagne du terrain, ce qui se traduit notamment par une participation accrue des femmes aux décisions du ménage.

Dans le même temps, deux adultes sur cinq sont toujours analphabètes, le compteur de l’espérance de vie est bloqué à 57 ans (dix ans de moins qu’en Asie du Sud) et la recrudescence des événements violents est manifeste depuis 2010. Le défi du développement humain reste donc considérable. D’autant que dans les pays riches en ressources, qui sont pour beaucoup dans cette renaissance de l’Afrique, les citoyens n’ont pas bénéficié d’une amélioration proportionnée de leur niveau d’éducation ou de santé, bien au contraire : les résultats présentés dans le dernier rapport de la Banque mondiale, Poverty in a Rising Africa, montrent que ces pays sont les moins performants quand il s’agit de convertir cette manne économique en gains de développement humain.

When growth alone is not enough

Luc Christiaensen's picture
Also available in: Français

Africa’s robust annual economic expansion of 4.5% during 1995-2013 has come along with appreciable progress in human welfare. African newborns can now expect to live 6.2 years longer than in 2000, the prevalence of chronic malnutrition among children under five declined by six percentage points, and the number of deaths of violent events dropped from 20 (in the late 1990s) to four. Africans are also more empowered, manifested, among others, through greater participation of women in household decision making.

At the same time, for every five adults, two remain illiterate, life expectancy still only stands at 57— 10 years less than in South Asia – and the number of violent events has been on the rise again since 2010. The human development challenge remains substantial. Moreover, despite being a major force behind Africa’s growth renaissance, citizens in resource-rich countries did not experience a commensurate jump in their education or health status. On the contrary, results from the World Bank’s recent Africa Poverty Report “Poverty in a Rising Africa,” suggest that it is especially resource-rich countries which are bad at converting their economic fortunes into better human development.
 

Testing times for South Africa

Marek Hanusch's picture

 Steven Hall, World Bank Group

Concerns about South Africa’s economy have been rising, after years of slowing growth following the post-financial crisis peak of 3.2% in 2011. South Africans lament the plunge of the Rand—a 30% depreciation against the U.S. dollar over the year 2015. They fear the potential of South Africa losing its high-prized investment grade credit rating. Many, especially the youth, live with high and largely chronic unemployment, currently at 25.5%, or 36% when including those who have given up looking for a job. Not surprisingly unemployment is the top concern for 72% of South Africans according to the 2015 Afrobarometer. Growth and job creation are crucial for sustaining the impressive economic and social progress the country has achieved since the end of apartheid—and to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030, as envisioned by the National Development Plan (NDP).

Ethiopia’s growth miracle: What will it take to sustain it?

Lars Christian Moller's picture



If you are curious to know which country has achieved double digit growth in the last 12 years, making it the fourth fastest-growing in the world, the answer is Ethiopia. And what is more striking is that if Ethiopia sustains its current pace of growth, it will become a middle income country by 2025.

Terra Ranca! Um novo começo para a Guiné-Bissau

Marek Hanusch's picture
Also available in: English

@ Daniella Van Leggelo Padilla, World Bank Group
No día 25 de Março de 2015, a comunidade internacional reuniu-se em Bruxelas a fim de mobilizar recursos para a Guiné-Bissau, cujo governo e o povo guineense parecem prontos para um novo começo.

Terra Ranca! A fresh start for Guinea-Bissau

Marek Hanusch's picture
Also available in: Portuguese

@ Daniella Van Leggelo Padilla, World Bank Group

As international donors gather this week in Brussels to mobilize resources for Guinea-Bissau, the government and people of this West African nation appear ready for a fresh start.

Mobile connectivity in Africa has already arrived

Borko Handjiski's picture

What is the main difference between high-income and developing countries?

Here is my take: People in the former have much more of pretty much everything. Almost everyone living in high-income countries has access to electricity; in poor (low-income) countries, 7 out of 10 people don’t. Most families in rich countries own a car, but only a few people living in the developing world do. On per capita basis, rich economies have 15 times more doctors than poor countries, consume 40 times more energy, have 50 times more ATMs, and so on.

Africa's McTipping Point?

Borko Handjiski's picture
Three quarters of a century since the opening of the first McDonald’s, the fast food chain operates around 34,000 outfits in around 120 countries and territories across all continents. In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), however, – a region of 48 countries and almost a billion people - only South Africa and Mauritius have been able to attract this global food chain.
 

This peculiarity cannot be explained only by the fact that the region is poor. The company has found a market in about 30 countries with GDP per capita of less than US$ 3,000 (in constant 2005 US$) at the time of their first McDonald’s opening. Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, and Big Macs are also on offer in a dozen of low-income countries as well. When the first McDonald’s opened in Shenzhen in 1990, China’s GDP per capita was less than US$ 500 per person. Of course, Shenzhen’s per capita income was several times higher, but the company has also found a market in Moldova since 1998 when the GDP per capita of the 3 million person country was less than US$ 600 per capita. There are many cities in SSA today that have higher income, population concentration, and tourists than what Chisinau had in 1998; yet they do not have a McDonald’s. As a matter of fact, 22 SSA countries today have higher income per capita than what Moldova or Pakistan had when the first McDonald’s opened there, and 15 of them have higher income per capita even than what Indonesia or Egypt had at their McDonald’s openings (see chart).

Toing and Froing in Freetown

Mark Roland Thomas's picture



Countries coming out of crises undergo rapid structural changes, including migration and big economic shifts. This can complicate the measurement of their progress, sometimes in unexpected ways, as we found out recently in Sierra Leone.

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