The Brookings Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative believes that the time is right for Africa to sustainably and inclusively converge with the rest of the world in terms of standards of living, opportunity, and GDP per capita income.  However, the road to achieving this vision will not be easy. Despite the progress, Africa’s growth to date has failed to meaningfully impact the continent’s startling rates of poverty and inequality. For Africa to achieve transformative growth, regional leaders and their U.S.-based counterparts need new models and policies for economic development, which expand opportunity for workers, families, and communities. The Brookings Institution supports this process by producing and disseminating high-quality, independent policy research, which helps establish long-term strategies for economic growth and enhances the programs of Africa’s key partners in Washington, D.C.

Our Work

AGI achieves its goal through two objectives, which help ensure that African partners and their U.S.-based institution help “maintain the momentum” and “expand the benefits” of economic growth in Africa:

— Maintain the Momentum — 

Africa’s economic growth could serve as the foundation of efforts to address poverty and inequality, but it remains too fragile and too easily derailed. AGI is committed to strengthening and deepening economic growth in the region by focusing on six specific areas:

  • More and better finance for development: Exploring policy mechanisms to secure long-term and quality funding for Africa’s development agendas through better domestic resource mobilization, access to capital markets, management of capital flows, and support for the infrastructure of African countries and cities
  • Big risks to Africa’s growth: Developing strategies to identify, manage, and mitigate future hazards to continued growth in Africa, including macroeconomic shocks, insecurity, epidemics, climate change, among others
  • Structural transformation: Conducting policy research supporting Africa’s transition from low-productivity manufacturing and natural resource extraction to more dynamic and resilient economic activities
  • Private sector support for official development objectives and improved public-private partnerships: Researching ways to enhance the reach and positive impact of business on poverty, jobs, and broad-based development
  • Trade and regional integration: Identifying policy solutions to reduce barriers to international and regional trade
  • Institutions, economic governance, and transparency: Working in key sectors to promote open and efficient use of resources to support development

— Expand the Benefits — 

Strong economic development presents a powerful opportunity to improve the lives of poor people in Africa; however, the region’s recent growth has to date done too little to support positive socio-economic gains. AGI is committed to identifying practical ways to enable a more inclusive growth, focusing on five areas:

  • Gender and economic development: Researching ways to reduce gender as a source of exclusion
  • Jobs and youth entrepreneurship: Analyzing policies to increase employment and entrepreneurship, particularly among Africa’s youth
  • Fragile, low income and conflict-ridden states: Research suggests that the locus of global poverty will be primarily concentrated in fragile, low income, and conflict-ridden states. AGI will address this challenge by producing recommendations for African countries that have recorded very poor economic performance or reversals
  • Infrastructure and cities: Identifying strategies for creating infrastructure as a means to support inclusivity and positon urban centers as drivers of industry and poverty reduction
  • Education and skills development: Assessing policies on skills development to reduce impediments—posed by lack of knowledge and technical skills—facing Africans seeking to benefits from the region’s recent growth


The ultimate goal of all AGI’s work is to inform policy that makes a difference in the lives of the people of Africa. AGI’s research is designed to create strong policy capable of creating sustained economic growth and development throughout Africa. Please contact us to learn more about our work. AGI can be reached at [email protected].