Africa

The "Missing Women" in African Labor Markets

This brief piece assesses labor market participation of women in Africa. It focuses on estimating the number of women who would be participating in the labor market had the relative Labor Force Paricapation rates for women and men were in par with the levels in advanced countries.

Closing the Gender Gap in African Labor Markets is Good Economics

While progress had been made in gender equality in global labor markets thanks to economic and social advancement, gender inclusivness is lagging in Africa due to high poverty and gender discrimination.

Human Capital, Productivity, and Structural Transformation

This paper revisits the role of investment in human capital in closing the productivity gap, boosting labor productivity growth, speeding the rate of structural transformation, and ultimately creating high-quality jobs in Africa. Analysis of detailed sector-level historical data on employment, value added, and human capital shows that investment in human capital is significantly and positively associated with the rate at which countries close the labor productivity gap between agriculture and the rest of the economy. Investment in human capital also significantly increases labor productivity within sectors and the speed at which labor is reallocated from low-productivity to high-productivity employment. In line with other research on this topic, the findings from this study underscore that Africa is ready to benefit significantly from improving human capital through investments in education, health care, and nutrition.

The Cost of Inaction: Obstacles and Lost Jobs in Africa

Africa has no shortage of labor supply. But it lacks high-productivity job opportunities in high- productivity nonagricultural sectors. Its relatively rapid and sustained economic growth over the past decade did not yield enough jobs for the growing wave of jobs seekers-mainly youth in urban areas. Nonagricultural employment continues to be dominated by the informal sector, where wages are low, benefits nonexistent, workplace safety absent, and labor exploitation common. With significant demographic change expected to bring pressure on African labor markets, the urgency of creating high-quality and remunerative jobs at a much faster pace is not only an economic issue but a political and social one. This report investigates the extent to which failure to remove business constraints hinders actual and potential job growth. In particular, using World Bank Enterprise Survey (ES) panel data, the report quantifies the number of actual jobs lost due to the impact of business obstacles on firm survival and employment growth.

Labor Market Flexibility and Jobs in Selected African Countries

Africa enjoyed relatively fast economic growth over the past decade and a half. The sustained growth undoubtedly kindled hopes for a prosperous Africa. However, poverty and inequality remained pervasive. In 2013, poverty was still widespread, and the rate was high in Sub-Saharan Africa-41 percent, compared with the world average of just 10.7 percent and the South Asia average of 15 percent. While the intensity of poverty, measured by the poverty gap, declined from 26 percent to 16 percent during the same period, it is still high compared with the world average of 3.2 percent. Moreover, the benefits of growth were not shared widely, and inequality was widespread and persistent. The median Gini coefficient measuring inequality in Africa was 0.36 in 2014, and 7 percent of total income goes to the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution.

Dubai's Economic Transformation: Lessons for Some African Countries

In this paper, we review Dubai's unique economic transformation model, which has been driven by bold government interventions in globally competitive markets. We highlight diversification strategies and policies that Dubai implemented throughout its transformation. We discuss the respective roles of leadership, governance structure, the public sector, and the business environment and regulations, which were instrumental in rapidly transforming the economy. Finally, with some caveats, we provide some policy lessons for African countries.

Africa’s Agricultural Transformation:Identifying Priority Areas and Overcoming Challenges

Africa has achieved unprecedented economic growth over the past two decades and is experiencing its longest period of sustained economic growth since the 1960s. The growth rate has not only accelerated, but also spread geographically...

Transforming Africa’s Agriculture through Agro-Industrialization

Economic growth in Africa has been accelerating for the past two decades. The continent enjoyed sustained economic growth registering an annual average growth of more than 5 percent....