Despite high growth and significant advances in terms of macroeconomic stability across sub-Saharan Africa, it is evident that the structure of the region’s growth remains of concern. Manufacturing has declined substantially, flagging a key area of vulnerability in the growth and development trajectory of many of Africa’s economies. The growth of the global working-age population to 2030 will be driven primarily by Africa. However, the growth challenge in the region is that most of the current jobs being created are located in low productivity, urban informal sector firms—with little potential for driving a long-run development trajectory on the continent. In addition, almost 50 percent of the sub-Saharan population lives below the poverty line, and the working poor constitute almost two-thirds of total employed.
So, is Africa’s growth sustainable, job creating, and inclusive? How might it be? Recent research, utilizing six country cases studies, examines the relationship between economic growth and employment outcomes in order to define some of the key constraints facing African economies as they attempt to maintain a long-run, inclusive economic growth.
On November 3, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings hosted a conversation on the new book “Africa’s Lions: Growth Traps and Opportunities for Six African Economies,” which examines the key constraints facing six African economies as they attempt to maintain a long-run economic growth and development trajectory while navigating obstacles to job creation and Africa’s unique structural transformation. Participants discussed how the structure of each country’s workforce has implications for human capital development, the vulnerably employed, and the working poor and how a better understanding of these can inform the future development policy agenda.