Tuesday, May 10, 2011
AFRICA COMPETITIVENESS REPORT 2011
* Diversifying products and markets. African countries have much to gain by diversifying exports and by further opening up regional trade. Despite improving over recent decades, Africa’s share in world trade remains low, it is heavily concentrated in natural resources, and intra-African trade is particularly limited. Regional integration can also help African countries become more competitive and resilient to external shocks.
* Upgrading managerial skills and higher education. Higher education enrolment remains extremely low by international standards. And the areas of higher education undertaken by a majority of African students are not in the fields of science, engineering technology and business. The result is a skills mismatch—university graduates remain unemployed, while African countries continue to face shortages of skilled labor.
* Expanding women’s entrepreneurship. The rate of women’s entrepreneurship is high in Africa—higher than in any other region. However, this is not necessarily a sign of economic empowerment. This is because women are concentrated in the informal, micro, low-growth, and low-profit areas. The report shows that while women are less likely to be operating larger firms in higher-value-added sectors, those who do so in fact manage firms that perform equally well as those run by men. What is critical is not to increase entrepreneurship per se, but rather to enable women to move into higher-value-added activities.
* Reaping the full benefits of tourism. Africa’s rich natural and cultural resources represent a major unexploited endowment through Travel & Tourism, with the potential to generate significant employment, growth and poverty reduction. The region has many advantages on which to build its tourism industry, including price competitiveness, a strong affinity for tourism, and rich natural resources supported by efforts toward environmental sustainability. However, a number of obstacles remain to developing the sector, notably improving safety and security, upgrading health and hygiene levels, developing infrastructure and access to African sites, and fostering the region’s human capital.
Education, Women Entrepreneurs, Tourism and Trade Vital to Africa's Competitiveness
Press Release No:2011/470/AFR
* A new report from the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum, takes stock of African competitiveness
* The report finds that increasing trade, enhancing higher education, ensuring entrepreneurial opportunities for women and developing the tourism sector are important for improving the region’s economic prospects
* The report contains detailed competitiveness profiles for many African countries
* Download the full report, an overview, country profiles and more at www.worldbank.org/africa/acr
CAPE TOWN, South Africa, May 4, 2011—African economies have made important strides in improving their economies in recent years, but more can be done to ensure that recent strong growth continues into the future.
In particular, African governments must better harness the region’s resources by integrating into international trade and finance, improving educational systems, enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities for women and developing their tourism sectors.
These findings were released Wednesday by the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the World Economic Forum as part of their latest Africa Competitiveness Report 2011.
“This year’s Africa Competitiveness Report is the third comprehensive effort by our three organizations to place the continent in a broader international context and to shed light on the important aspects of development in the region, which are so critical to ensure sustained and shared growth for Africa’s citizens,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
The jointly produced report is released ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa, taking place from May 4-6 in Cape Town, South Africa. It presents an integrated vision of the policy challenges African nations face as they build a foundation for sustainable growth and prosperity.
The report includes detailed competitiveness profiles, providing a comprehensive summary of the drivers of competitiveness in each of the countries covered by the report.
The commitment of African governments to business friendly reforms; skills development; women’s empowerment and economic diversification is crucial to fostering the continent’s economic competitiveness. However, this commitment must be matched by continuous dialogue with both the private sector and civil society as an essential platform for developing innovative solutions critical to Africa’s economic transformation,” said Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region.
Those areas include diversifying products and markets; upgrading managerial skills and higher education; expanding women’s entrepreneurship; and reaping the full benefits of tourism.
“Africa must focus on the policies and strategies that are key for sustained economic recovery and inclusive growth of the continent, such as higher education for skilled manpower and entrepreneurship development, and financial instruments that will support vibrant private sector development and regional integration and trade,” said Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank.
The Africa Competitiveness Report 2011 is an invaluable tool for policy-makers, business strategists and other key stakeholders, as well as essential reading for all those with an interest in the region. Further information on this study is available at www.worldbank.org/africa/acr
In Cape Town: Sarwat Hussain, 27-12-431-3124, firstname.lastname@example.org;
In Washington: Aby K. Toure, (202) 473-8302, email@example.com
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