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Storm clouds hover as a cyclist rides past a field of maize after late rains near Malawi's capital Lilongwe, February 1, 2016. Late rains in Malawi threaten the staple maize crop and have pushed prices to record highs.About 14 million people face hunger in Southern Africa because of a drought that has been exacerbated by an El Nino weather pattern, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). REUTERS/Mike Hutchings - RTX24Z7D
Africa in focus

Thunder is not yet rain: Sustaining progress towards realizing Africa’s vision

Amadou Sy, Christina Golubski, and Amy Copley

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Amy Copley

Research Analyst and Project Coordinator - Africa Growth Initiative

By now the narrative of Africa rising is well-known. Past decades of economic growth, advances in education and health, declining poverty rates, and strengthened democracies have contributed to the narrative that Africa’s time is now. Then again, as the African proverb goes, thunder is not yet rain. The sustainable, broad-based benefits of development—within sight and approaching quickly—have not yet arrived. In fact, the Africa rising narrative is being challenged. Economic shocks, an increase in absolute poverty numbers, high inequality, and growing youth unemployment threaten the gains of recent history.

Through its academic approach and economic lens, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) explores policies that will facilitate more and better financing for development, structural transformation, trade, good governance, gender equality, jobs, infrastructure, and skills development, among other issues. As explained in the video below, AGI’s research informs policies that let the rain fall—bringing better livelihoods and opportunities to all of Africa.

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