Africa Development Bank Working Paper 209: What is driving Africa’s growth miracle?

The share of the population in Africa living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 58 percent in 2000 to 48 percent in 2010, infant mortality rates declined significantly, and access to education generally improved (Page and Shimeles, 2014). Average growth rates have been positive for the first time in decades and, in some of the fastest growing economies, have exceeded 6 percent per annum; moreover, these growth rates are likely to be underestimated. Young (2012) finds that real consumption in Africa has been growing between 3.4 and 3.7 percent per year or three to four times the 0.9 -1.1 percent growth reported using national accounts data; he dubs this an ‘African Growth Miracle’.

The reasons behind this success are not well understood. The main contribution of this paper is to show, for the first time, that the ‘African Growth Miracle’ can be traced to a significant decline in the share of the labor force engaged in agriculture.

Read the full report by the African Development Bank HERE