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African economy facts

Africa has been the second-fastest-growing region in the world over the past 10 years, with average annual growth of 5.1 per cent over the past decade, driven by greater political stability and economic reforms that have unleashed the private sector in many countries.

Poverty is also on the retreat. A new consuming class has taken its place: since 2000, 31 million African households have joined the world's consuming class. At the point when household incomes exceed $5, 000, measured at purchasing power parity, consumers begin to direct more than half their income to things other than food and shelter. The continent now has around 90 million people who fit this definition. That figure is projected to reach 128 million by 2020.

Indeed, contrary to conventional wisdom, the majority of Africa's growth has come from domestic spending and non-commodity sectors, rather than the resources boom.

2. Africa is poised to have the largest labour force in the world

By 2035, Africa's labour force will be bigger than that of any individual country in the world, which offers the continent a chance to reap a demographic dividend, using its young and growing workers to boost economic growth.

As Africa's workforce grows, the number of children and retired people that each worker supports will fall to be par with the US and Europe in 2035, the other part of the demographic dividend. With fewer dependents to support, African households will begin to enjoy even greater discretionary spending power, further driving growth.

3. African workers are better educated than ever before

Today 40 per cent of Africans have some secondary or tertiary education. By 2020, it will be nearly half. But African countries still need further progress to remain economically competitive. While 33 per cent of Africans in the labour force receive secondary education, 39 per cent of workers in India and 66 per cent in China receive education at this level.

4. Steady work is still hard to find in Africa

But here's the bad news: only 28 per cent of Africans have stable, wage-paying jobs. To reap the benefits of its positive demographics and advancements in education, Africa needs to quickly create more jobs. Although it has created 37 million stable, wage-paying jobs over the past decade, 91 million people have been added to its labour force.

As a result, 9 per cent of the workforce is officially unemployed, and nearly two thirds of workers sustain themselves through subsistence activities and low-wage self-employment. Youth unemployment is also a major challenge. In Egypt, youth unemployment is 25 per cent. For the sake of social and political stability, Africa needs to accelerate its creation of stable jobs that are the route to lasting prosperity and an expanding consuming class.

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Source: www.independent.co.uk
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