A UN report on Monday said Africa must tap into its agricultural, mining and energy resources to boost its economic growth.
A statement on the report, entitled: “African Economic Outlook 2013”, made available to PANA in New York, stated that African countries must take full advantage of their natural resource wealth to accelerate the pace of growth and ensure that the process can benefit ordinary Africans.
It also stressed that this must be accompanied by inclusive social policies that seek to reduce inequality in the continent.
It quoted authors of the report, as saying that now is the time to step up the tempo of economic transformation, so that African economies become more competitive and create more gainful jobs.
The statement also said that widening the sources of economic activity is fundamental to meeting this challenge.
The report said the continent’s economic prospects for 2013 and 2014 were promising, with the economy projected to grow by 4.8 per cent the first year and accelerate further to 5.3 per cent the next.
“However, it emphasises that economic growth alone will not be enough to reduce poverty, tackle persistent unemployment and address income inequalities and deteriorating levels of health and education,” it said.
The statement also quoted Mr. Mario Pezzini, Director at the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre, as saying that “growth is not enough, African countries must provide the right conditions for turning natural resources into jobs, optimise their resource revenues through smart taxation and help investors and locals to make the most of linkages”.
According to the report, four key elements are necessary for inclusive growth.
These are creating the right conditions for transformation including infrastructure and the creation of more competitive markets, implementing more effective tax systems as well as improving land management, ensuring proceeds from natural resources are invested in projects that benefit civil society and actively fostering economic diversification.
The report is produced annually by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and UNDP.