Youth unemployment has been increasing in Africa. It is particularly pervasive in South Africa, where the youth unemployment rate is persistently high, posing considerable socioeconomic challenges. In response, the government introduced the …
Despite evolving evidence that Africa is experiencing urbanisation in a different way, empirical evaluations of the welfare implications of urban-development programs in Africa remain scant. We investigate the welfare implications of recent …
Many African countries heavily rely on imports of agricultural commodities and agricultural inputs from Ukraine and Russia, for example wheat, other grains, and fertilizer. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global access to grains due to …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Women are disproportionately disadvantaged in access to finance in Africa. While supply-side detriments, such as high interest rates and collateral requirements, are well documented in the literature, little is understood about how demand-side factors contribute to the observed gender gap in access to finance. This paper provides the first empirical evidence on how women managers' perception about their creditworthiness contributes to the large gender gap in Africa, particularly in the Northern region. One of the innovations of the paper is introducing a theoretical model using the credit market framework with imperfect and asymmetric information to explain what may drive loan applicants to self-select. We use firm-level data for 47 African countries from the World Bank Enterprise Survey. We find that women entrepreneurs in Africa, in general, and in North Africa, in particular, are more likely to self-select themselves out of the credit market due to low perceived creditworthiness compared to their men counterparts. The results also suggest that the observed self-selection behavior is not a response mechanism to current discriminatory lending practices by the banks. The results are robust to different empirical specifications. The findings will inform policies towards greater financial inclusion of women in the region.