As 2019 begins, reasons for optimism that Africa will build on the progress of the past years and advance its economic potential abound. The 2014 terms of trade shock from the commodities slump that hit many countries in the region hard has largely dissipated. Across the continent, economic growth is projected to expand at the fastest pace in five years. Nearly half of the world’s fastest growing economies this year will be African. Business environments are improving, thanks to widespread reform efforts, and Africa’s leadership and institutions are more assertive in advancing the continent’s agenda.
Regional integration is advancing, specifically through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and through policies in support of the free movement of Africans across the continent, bucking global protectionist trends. This unprecedented dynamism of the continent is creating opportunities for trade and investment and is drawing interest from an increasingly diverse group of external partners. Democracy is consolidating, although the prevalence of tensions and, in some countries, violence during elections, point to areas for improvement. The demographic tidal wave looms closer, and job creation has not yet been able to catch up. Finally, despite continued progress on governance, more efforts are needed to eradicate corruption and to elevate the voice of women and young people in the decisionmaking.
The Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) at Brookings explores these trends and features diverse expert viewpoints in Foresight Africa, its annual flagship report.
On January 17, AGI hosted a Foresight Africa launch featuring a panel of leading Africa experts to offer insights on regional trends along with recommendations for national governments, regional organizations, multilateral institutions, and civil society actors as they forge ahead in 2019.
After the program, the panelists answered questions from the audience.