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Africa’s development gains at risk due to slow transformation progress


The African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), in a recently released African Transformation Index 2023 (ATI), says repeated economic shocks and uneven growth have slowed the continent’s overall economic transformation after two decades.

The index indicated that since the year 2000, many African economies had become less diversified and less competitive globally.

According to the index, the slow progress was making countries on the continent more vulnerable to future shocks, which made them more likely to struggle with debt and less likely to achieve crucial transformation milestones in support of sustainable development.

The index acknowledged that while some African countries had seen progress since 2000, many were lagging, which had impacted their ability to recover from major global shocks like COVID-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The New African Transformation Index tracks the progress and challenges of respective African countries since 2000.

The ATI offers pathways for countries to take action to keep the transformation agenda on track and build up their economic resilience, including lessons from strong performers like Morocco, Tunisia, and Rwanda, which are among the countries that made the biggest improvements.

The 2023 ATI update broadens the scope of the index to cover 30 African countries, representing 86.5 percent of the continent’s population.

The index tracks the success and setbacks at the country level over two decades, from 2000 to 2020, along several key dimensions of economic transformation in Africa, which ACET refers to as growth in depth.

The depth includes diversification, exports, competitiveness, productivity, technology, and human well-being.

The index is also an essential tool that can help African leaders learn from the past to craft better policies for the future.

Dr. K.Y. Amoako, Founder and President of the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET), said most African countries were not transforming nearly as quickly as they needed to, and that the ATI offered data and analysis that helped explain why they were less successful.

He added,” This is not just a numbers exercise; investing in transformation can improve African lives and livelihoods and create a path to long-term economic success for our continent.”

Despite the challenges, the index also showed some encouraging trends, which includes higher wages, more income equality, and better opportunities for women in the workplace, has improved notably in most African countries this century.

The index further revealed that while the progress was laudable, it was important for countries to strive for long-term growth that benefited everyone and to support the most vulnerable, who were often the hardest hit by climate and economic shocks.

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