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Growth is not enough

Africa’s agricultural, mining and energy resources could boost the continent’s economic growth and pave the way for a breakthrough in human development, according to the African Economic Outlook 2013.
An overview on the report was provided by Mario Pezzini, Director at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre in his keynote address to “Mining, Agriculture and Development: Bread from Stones?” at a conference in Australia earlier this week.
Pezzini highlighted the roles of agriculture and mining in improving the wealth of countries, and raised the main risks and challenges being faced by each sector and also when they intersect.  He said that the African continent’s economic outlook for 2013 and 2014 is promising, confirming its healthy resilience to internal and external shocks and its role as a growth pole in an ailing global economy. Africa’s economy is projected to grow by 4.8% in 2013 and accelerate further to 5.3% in 2014.
The AEO report shows this growth has been accompanied by insufficient poverty reduction, persisting unemployment, increased income inequalities.
“Now is the time to step up the tempo of economic transformation, so that African economies become more competitive and create more gainful jobs”, says the authors of the report.  “Widening the sources of economic activity is fundamental to meeting this challenge.”
African countries must tap into their natural resource wealth to accelerate the pace of growth and ensure the process benefits ordinary Africans.
“Growth is not enough”, said Pezzini.
“African countries must provide the right conditions for turning natural resources into jobs, optimize their resource revenues through smart taxation and help investors and locals to make the most of linkages,” he said.

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