While Africa’s economic outlook for 2013 and 2014 was promising, its’ growth has been accompanied by insufficient poverty reduction, persisting unemployment, and increased income inequalities.This is according to the African Economic Outlook 2013, which was the keynote address at the national conference of the Crawford Fund, which being held in conjunction with the Africa Australia Research Forum in Perth, Australia. The address, entitled “Mining, Agriculture and Development: Bread from Stones?” was given by Mario Pezzini, Director at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre. According to the African Economic Outlook 2013 the continent’s economy is projected to grow by 4.8% in 2013 and accelerate further to 5.3% in 2014. Africa’s agricultural, mining and energy resources could boost the continent’s economic growth and pave the way for a breakthrough in human development.
“Now is the time to step up the tempo of economic transformation, so that African economies become more competitive and create more gainful jobs,” say the authors of the report. “Widening the sources of economic activity is fundamental to meeting this challenge.”African countries must tap into their natural resource wealth to accelerate the pace of growth and ensure the process benefits ordinary Africans. “But growth is not enough”, says Pezzini, “African countries must provide the right conditions for turning natural resources into jobs, optimise their resource revenues through smart taxation and help investors and locals to make the most of linkages.” In his address Pezzini highlighted the roles of agriculture and mining in improving the wealth of countries, and raised the main risks and challenges being faced by each sector and also when they intersect. The forum is being held as a forerunner to the three day Africa Down Under conference – which Pezzini will also address – commencing in Perth tomorrow, in which Australia’s $40 billion participation in helping develop Africa’s mineral riches, will be under the spotlight.