Africa in 2017: Innovation, employment, and governance

People crowd a street at the central business district in Nigeria's commercial capital Lagos ahead of Christmas December 23, 2016.

Amadou Sy, senior fellow and director of the Africa Growth Initiative, and Witney Schneidman, nonresident senior fellow at Brookings and senior international advisor for Africa at Covington & Burling LLP, examine the top priorities for Africa in 2017, as recently laid out in the Africa Growth Initiative’s annual Foresight Africa report.

“When I look at Africa, I see so many opportunities and so many challenges, but one thing that I find unique is that it’s a young continent, it’s the youngest continent, and the youthfulness is so vibrant,” says Sy. “There are so many opportunities that can be realized with the smart, appropriate investment in the youth by giving them jobs, and education, and training, and so on. So I’m looking forward to this new Africa, one that will be built by this young population.”

Schneidman says, “So, I am absolutely a believer in the Africa rising narrative. I think we have to be very careful how we use it, though, because the Africa rising narrative is not uniform, it does not speak to the reality of what’s happening across 54 countries. Some countries are doing much better than others, some sectors are doing much better than other sectors in countries that, by and large, are doing well. And it’s really a question of how the government adopts the kind of policies that really not only focus on the economic development equation, but are targeted at reducing the inequality of beneficiaries and those who don’t benefit…It’s difficult to know where to start the policy dialogue and how to look to make sure that growth is really wide-ranging and its benefits are wide ranging, as well.”


Show Notes:


With thanks to audio producer Gaston Reboredo and producer Vanessa Sauter, and also thanks for additional support from Kelly Russo, Fred Dews, and Richard Fawal.

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