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ANALYSIS: There’s more to Africa’s growth story than lagging income rates

Pretoria, South Africa| Jakkie CILLIERS | ISS TODAY|  As part of the ‘Africa rising’ narrative, much has been made of the continent’s growth story. The global recession of 2007/8 hit Africa hard, but it remained remarkably resilient, with growth forecast to 2030 at around 1.3% faster than average growth rates for the world.

Africa’s average growth rates are significantly higher than they were during the lost decades leading up to the 1990s, although substantially below regions like Southeast Asia which includes high-growth countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia.

But does this economic growth in Africa bring advances in human development, or will the continent continue to lag behind?

One of the most widely used (although imperfect) measures of improved circumstances is that of average income per capita. On this measure, Africa has steadily lost ground since the 1960s. Whereas average income levels in Africa in 1960 were 53% of the world average, by 2015 they were only 32%.

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