Employment, enterprise and skills: Building business infrastructure for African development
by Josephine Osikena, Anna Owen and Deniz Ugur
'Employment, enterprise and skills: Building business infrastructure for African development' is a new Foreign Policy Centre report focused on employment expansion across Africa. With a foreword provided by the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Donald Kaberuka, the publication represents the culmination of a series of roundtable discussions which took place in 2013/14 and were supported by the UK's development finance institution, CDC Group.
Productive employment does more than simply provide incomes, improve livelihoods, support welfare, promote wellbeing and tackle poverty. Jobs, and more significantly good jobs, have a transformative ability to determine the structure and impact of economic growth on wider development. Yet, the growing buoyancy of African economies is undermined by their lack of structural diversity. This can be illustrated by a number of critical questions. Are ordinary people directly feeling the benefits of record economic growth rates across Africa? Is impressive growth reducing poverty and inequality across African societies? What impact are economic growth rates having on the nature and structure of employment across the continent? Has economic growth resulted in an increase in productivity levels across economic sectors – creating jobs and adding value to economic outputs? Is economic growth translating into the development of modern productive well integrated economic sectors? Are these sectors linked to the real domestic economy, beyond natural resource extraction for export? Essentially, is economic growth delivering broad-based structural transformation?