It also calls for unleashing the continentâ€™s full potential to fully play that role, according to the Information and Communication Service of Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Released in English and French, this yearâ€™s ERA, titled Unleashing Africaâ€™s Potential as a Pole of Global Growth, examines recent developments in the world economy and implications for Africa and analyses the economic and social prospects for 2012.
The joint flagship publication of the ECA and the African Union (AU) does not just provide evidence to show that the region could be a pole of global growth but proposes a clear plan on how to unleash the continentâ€™s development capacity and mobilise resources for its structural transformation.
Pole of global growth
In remarks made on Tuesday at the launch, AbdallaHamdok, the deputy executive secretary of the ECA said, “If Africa is to become a bona fide pole for global growth, it needs to sustain its current growth momentum for another two decades and implement bold and innovative reforms on the political and economic governance front.”
“Africa needs to be prepared to reap the potential benefits of this momentum,” he stressed, and outlined among the reportâ€™s many recommendations, the need for structural reforms, as well as infrastructure, innovation and value chains as some of the key areas that need attention.
“We also need to address climate change impacts and reform Africaâ€™s educational systems to ensure relevance,” he added.
He underscored innovation and technology transfer as a key to increasing value-addition in Africaâ€™s economic transformation. He then singled out the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA), awarded this week to outstanding innovators as an example of how ECA and the Africa Innovation Foundation are charting a path in this direction.
“It is our hope that ERA2012 will help stimulate discussions and debate among stakeholders, including the international business community on the key actions needed to unleash Africaâ€™s potential as a pole for global growth,” he said.
Hands-on developmental state
Also commenting on the report, Malawiâ€™s economist and current AU commissioner Dr Maxwell Mkwezalamba referred to ERA2012 as a seminal piece of work, which, as he put it, “takes a cautious and nuanced approach to current growth rates.”
He added: “If Africa leapfrogs its development, sustains economic performance, ensures broad- based growth, with a hands-on developmental state, we will see multiplier effects.”
Mkwezalamba emphasised that Africa needs to be ready to seize the opportunities presented by this new impetus.
“We are confident that ERA2012 will provide insightful policy recommendations and provoke discussions on how Africa can better take charge of its development trajectory to improve the lives of our people,” he added.
Emmanuel Nnadozie, Director, Economic Development and Nepad Division at the ECA and Dr. Rene KouassiNâ€™guetta, Director of Economic Affairs of the African Union Commission made presentations on the reportâ€™s key messages, highlighting not just the achievements but challenges as well.
Nnadozie noted that the global economic crisis is bad for Africa and it is therefore in Africaâ€™s interest to have a high performing economy through increased trade, investments and remittances, “all of which are necessary for growth, employment and poverty reduction.”