Africa’s macroeconomic prospects

Africa’s economic growth should strengthen to 4.5% in 2015 and 5% in 2016 close to levels seen before the 2008/09 global crisis. This chapter looks at the challenges Africa’s governments face as they take differing paths to recovery. It also highlights how lower oil and commodity prices, uncertain global conditions, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and domestic political uncertainties could still block the return to the strong pre-crisis growth levels. There is also a special look at Africa’s energy sector.

External financial flows and tax revenues for Africa

This chapter analyses recent trends in external financial flows to Africa and tax revenue collection. It explores how the African finance landscape has changed in the past decade with a focus on the growing importance of private flows, such as foreign direct investment, portfolio investments and remittances, and the decline in official development assistance. Despite significant efforts to increase fiscal revenue these still fall short of needs.

Trade policies and regional integration in Africa

Africa has long sought deeper economic integration, and this chapter looks at trends and issues in trade and politics with an impact on progress being made at regional and continental levels. The chapter also examines the link between regional integration and spatial economic development, highlighting the impact of integration on industry location in Africa. Regional integration also generates spatial development, and regional institutions play a key role promoting spatial development and inclusion. Regional integration should help spread the gains from closer ties to a wider number of countries and regions. The key observations are intended to help policy makers focus on this, especially the need to help least developed and landlocked countries.

Human development in Africa

This chapter reviews development in Africa from a human development perspective. A subregional approach is deployed to analyse progress in expanding people’s choices with regard to economic opportunities, health and education. The analysis employs measures of poverty and deprivation that extend beyond income to reflect on persistent human development gaps. The chapter also explores inequality and its impact on present and future human development trends and presents recommendations for the design of implementation and monitoring frameworks for Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the global post-2015 goals. An analysis of uneven human development within countries demonstrates the impact of socio-economic and geographic inequality on progress in human development. Finally, the economic, social and governance-related drivers of uneven human development inform a set of policy recommendations for the ongoing prioritisation of poverty, inequality and sustainability on national, subregional and continental development agendas.

Political and economic governance in Africa

This chapter looks at some of the gains and losses in political and economic governance in Africa in 2014. It also looks at longer-term trends, both since the 1970s and the 2008/09 global crisis, comparing the trajectories of countries sharing similar circumstances. It considers some of the underlying factors of change and anticipates developments that may be expected in 2015.