Africa growing but not transforming, leading think tank warns

Press release: 1 April 2014

OECD to host Paris launch of Africa Transformation Report

Much of Africa’s celebrated growth is vulnerable according to a groundbreaking new report from the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), to be presented at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris on April 3.

When growth from mining and oil is discounted, some of the continent’s apparent economic powerhouses are revealed to be languishing, and failing to create jobs or opportunities for a growing youth population. This could lead to future political or social unrest.

Nigeria and Ghana, for example, rank respectively 3rd and 6th from the bottom in the report’s African Transformation Index, which assesses 21 Sub-Saharan countries on economic transformation. The top-ranking countries are Mauritius, South Africa, and Cote d’Ivoire.

K.Y. Amoako, President of ACET, who will introduce the report in Paris, said: “Africa has made great progress in recent years, but our report shows that current growth patterns are not sustainable and will not drive development or equality. Africa needs growth with DEPTH—namely Diversification, Export competitiveness, increased Productivity, and Technological innovation—all leading to Human wellbeing. Only then will the continent truly transform.”

The Paris event will be opened by Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD DAC, and Patrick Guillaumont, President of Ferdi, the Fondation pour les études et recherches sur le développement international, which is co-hosting the event with OECD. Yaw Ansu, ACET’s Chief Economist, will present the report and then take part in a panel discussion with Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre, Vanessa Jacquelain, Economist in the Africa Department of the Agence française de développement, and Stephen Decam, Director of the Conseil français des investisseurs en Afrique. The moderator will be Jaime de Melo, Professor emeritus at the University of Geneva and Senior Fellow at Ferdi.

The panelists will discuss the report’s findings, including its comparison of Africa’s performance with that of eight earlier transformers—Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam—and the lessons that can be drawn from this.

Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee said: “Six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are based in Sub-Saharan Africa and by 2050, the region will have a larger workforce than India and China! Eradicating poverty and promoting development in Africa while protecting the environment will require money. Development assistance is important to provide basic services such as health and education and help unlock more private investments and domestic resources.”

Notes to editors:

The Paris launch event will take place on 3 April 2014 from 11h00 – 13h00 at the OECD Conference Centre, 2 rue André Pascal, 75016 Paris. Simultaneous interpretation (French/English) will be provided. To attend, contact:

For all other enquiries about the report, and to arrange interviews with Yaw Ansu or K.Y. Amoako, contact Mr. Kobina Aidoo at or +233 266 197 854 or Amy Barry,, +44 7980 664397.

Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD DAC, and Patrick Guillaumont, Président of Ferdi, will also be available for interviews. Contact: Erlend Haugen,

The report is available at

About ACET
The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) is an Accra-based economic policy institute supporting Africa’s long-term economic growth through transformation. Founded by K.Y. Amoako, former Executive Secretary of the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa, ACET’s team of roughly 30 core staff come from every sub-region of the continent, including Burkina Faso, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and Uganda. More at


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