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Education, Women Entrepreneurs, Tourism and Trade Vital to Africa's Competitiveness

Press Release No:2011/470/AFR
  • A new report from the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and the World Economic Forum, takes stock of African competitiveness
  • The report finds that increasing trade, enhancing higher education, ensuring entrepreneurial opportunities for women and developing the tourism sector are important for improving the region’s economic prospects
  • The report contains detailed competitiveness profiles for many African countries
  • Download the full report, an overview, country profiles and more at www.worldbank.org/africa/acr

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, May 4, 2011—African economies have made important strides in improving their economies in recent years, but more can be done to ensure that recent strong growth continues into the future.

In particular, African governments must better harness the region’s resources by integrating into international trade and finance, improving educational systems, enhancing entrepreneurial opportunities for women and developing their tourism sectors.

These findings were released Wednesday by the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the World Economic Forum as part of their latest Africa Competitiveness Report 2011.

“This year’s Africa Competitiveness Report is the third comprehensive effort by our three organizations to place the continent in a broader international context and to shed light on the important aspects of development in the region, which are so critical to ensure sustained and shared growth for Africa’s citizens,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.

The jointly produced report is released ahead of the World Economic Forum on Africa, taking place from May 4-6 in Cape Town, South Africa. It presents an integrated vision of the policy challenges African nations face as they build a foundation for sustainable growth and prosperity.

The report includes detailed competitiveness profiles, providing a comprehensive summary of the drivers of competitiveness in each of the countries covered by the report.

The commitment of African governments to business friendly reforms; skills development; women’s empowerment and economic diversification is crucial to fostering the continent’s economic competitiveness. However, this commitment must be matched by continuous dialogue with both the private sector and civil society as an essential platform for developing innovative solutions critical to Africa’s economic transformation,” said Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region.

Those areas include diversifying products and markets; upgrading managerial skills and higher education; expanding women’s entrepreneurship; and reaping the full benefits of tourism.

“Africa must focus on the policies and strategies that are key for sustained economic recovery and inclusive growth of the continent, such as higher education for skilled manpower and entrepreneurship development, and financial instruments that will support vibrant private sector development and regional integration and trade,” said Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank.

The Africa Competitiveness Report 2011 is an invaluable tool for policy-makers, business strategists and other key stakeholders, as well as essential reading for all those with an interest in the region. Further information on this study is available at www.worldbank.org/africa/acr

Contacts:

In Cape Town: Sarwat Hussain, 27-12-431-3124, shussain@worldbank.org;

In Washington: Aby K. Toure, (202) 473-8302, akonate@worldbank.org

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