For the first time ever, the African Development Bank has released summaries of the African Economic Outlook (AEO), its main flagship report, in three African languages: Arabic, Hausa and Kiswahili. These three languages are among the most widely spoken by over 300 million Africans. Releasing the report in local languages aims to increase accessibility of the publication’s findings to a large segment of Africans and promote linguistic inclusiveness. This release is also the latest innovation for increasing the relevance and timeliness of the African Economic Outlook.
For the first time in the publication’s 15-year history, the 2018 edition of the report was launched early in the year – on January 17, 2018 – at the Bank’s headquarters by the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina. The 2018 edition of the African Economic Outlook focuses on infrastructure. As noted by the Bank President, “Infrastructure projects are among the most profitable investments any society can make. When productive, they significantly contribute to propel and sustain a country’s economic growth.” Based on preliminary results, the African Development Bank estimates that investment needs for infrastructure will be in the range of US $130-170 billion a year, much higher than the commonly cited US $93 billion.
Another milestone was the release of regional Economic Outlooks for Africa’s five sub-regions, at the Bank’s regional hubs on March 12, 2018. These self-contained reports focus on priority areas of concern for each sub-region and provide analysis of the economic and social landscape. Specifically, the regional Economic Outlook focuses on the importance of the Congo Basin forest for Central Africa; assesses the manufacturing sector potential in Eastern Africa; discusses food security and rural poverty in North Africa; analyzes competition in food value chains in Southern Africa; and addresses labour markets and job issues in West Africa.
With these new improvements, the Bank aims to transform the African Economic Outlook series (main and regional editions) into a flagship that provides comprehensive and rigorous analysis, reliable and up-to-date data and reference material on Africa’s development challenges for researchers, investors, civil society organizations, development partners, and the media. In the coming years, a particular emphasis will be placed on promoting linguistic inclusiveness by expanding the number of local languages in which the AEO is released. The Bank will also take its knowledge products to influential development stakeholders such as local government officials or local NGOs, especially in rural areas, which are often not fully engaged in critical development discussions. Through such efforts, the African Development Bank will further celebrate Africa’s linguistic diversity and multilingualism, while fostering home-grown solutions to Africa’s challenges.