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Africa is Now the Fastest Growing Continent in the World
Africa is now the fastest growing continent in the world, the African Development Bank’s Annual Development Effectiveness Review 2013 states. The report, just published, says this growth has been driven mainly by improved economic governance on the continent and the private sector.
“Africa’s economic growth could not have happened without major improvement in economic governance. More than two-thirds of the continent has registered overall improvement in the quality of economic governance in recent years, with increased capacity to deliver economic opportunity and basic services,” it says.
The report says the costs of starting a business, for instance, have fallen by more than two-thirds over the past seven years, while delays for starting a business have been halved. It says the private sector has become the main engine of growth as the continent continues to improve its business climate. This growth is increasingly driven by internal demand. “This progress has brought increased levels of trade and investment, with the annual rate of foreign investment increasing fivefold since 2000. For the future, improvements in such areas as access to finance and quality of infrastructure should help improve Africa’s global competitiveness,” the report states.
Greater regional economic integration on the continent, it says, will improve the prospects for growth by enabling African producers to build regional value chains, achieve economies of scale, increase intra-African trade and become internationally competitive. Recent years have seen progress in this direction, including the launch of regional organizations to manage regional power pools and water basins.However, Africa’s inadequate infrastructure remains a major constraint to the continent’s economic growth and development. The report urges greater investment in this area.