Towards a Growth Strategy for Africa
Marcel Fafchamps, Francis Teal, and John Toye
Centre for the Study of African Economies
Department of Economics, University of Oxford
Manor Road Building, Oxford OX1 3UQ, United Kingdom
Now that China and India have found ways of growing out of poverty, attention has again
turned to Africa. The purpose of this report is to ask which engines of growth can be
activated in sub-Saharan Africa today.
After two decades of stagnation in the continent, discouragement is taking hold. The
focus of policy has shifted further and further away from growth-oriented interventions
towards welfare assistance. Yet, in the long-run, a growth strategy is the most cost-
effective way of dealing with poverty. This is true for two fundamental reasons: first,
growth lifts many of the poor out of poverty; second, it generates the government
revenues necessary for anti-poverty measures. A donor strategy that focuses exclusively
on short-term poverty alleviation is a dead end, condemned to last indefinitely.
Rapid growth, when it happens, is disruptive. Measures are needed to protect vulnerable
groups against disruption. In a growing economy, educating the poor is a good way of
helping them partake to increased aggregate prosperity. In a stagnating economy, the net
effect on poverty reduction is less clear. The rapid increase in education which occurred
in sub-Saharan Africa from 1960 to 1990 was not sufficient to generate growth.
Exporting out of Africa is currently the only promising avenue for growth. It is not
entirely understood why exporting countries grow faster, why technical progress is more
rapid in export oriented countries, and why exporting firms are more efficient. It may be
due to... [continues]
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