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Africa’s Lions

Growth Traps and Opportunities for Six African Economies

Edited by Haroon Bhorat and Finn Tarp
bhorat tarp africa lions rev

Examining the economic forces that will shape Africa’s future

Africa’s Lions
 examines the economic growth experiences of six fast-growing and/or economically dominant African countries. Expert African researchers offer unique perspectives into the challenges and issues in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Despite a growing body of research on African economies, very little research has focused on the relationship between economic growth and employment outcomes at the detailed country level. A lack of empirical data has, in many cases, deprived policymakers of a robust evidence base on which to make informed decisions. By harnessing country-level household, firm, and national accounts data—together with existing analytical country research—the authors have attempted to bridge this gap. 

The growth of the global working-age population to 2030 will be driven primarily by Africa, which means that the relationship between growth and employment should be understood within the context of each countries’ projected demographic challenge and the associated implications for employment growth. Furthermore, a better understanding of the structure of each country’s workforce and the resulting implications for human capital development, the vulnerably employed, and the working poor, will be critical to informing the development policy agenda. 

As a group, the six countries profiled in Africa’s Lions will largely shape the continent’s future. Each country chapter focuses on the complex interactions between economic growth and employment outcomes, within the individual Africa’s Lions context.


Haroon Bhorat is professor of Economics and director of the Development Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town. He served as economic advisor to former South African Ministers of Finance, holds a prestigious National Research Chair, is a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and sits on numerous boards and advisory panels.

Finn Tarp is a leading international expert on issues of development strategy and foreign aid, with an interest in poverty, income distribution and growth, micro- and macroeconomic policy and modeling, agricultural sector policy and planning, household and enterprise development, and economic adjustment and reform. He has published almost 90 articles in international academic journals alongside various books. He is a member of the World Bank Chief Economist’s 15 member “Council of Eminent.”

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