Africa’s Economic Expansion Not Strong Enough To Reach Poverty MDG, U.N. Report Says

“Africa’s economy expanded by 4.7 percent in 2010 and is expected to maintain similar growth over the next two years,” according to the U.N.’s World Economic Situation and Prospects 2011 report, which was released Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports. But the economic growth and indicators of economic recovery are not strong enough to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) poverty targets, according to the report (1/18).

The report predicted the continent’s economy will grow by five percent this year and 5.1 percent in 2012, Reuters writes. “Rising infrastructure investment and agricultural productivity, and a growing demand for Africa’s exports” are some of the factors stimulating growth, according to the report, the news service writes (Maasho, 1/18). 

Adam Elhiraika, a U.N. economist, said, “The road to recovery is long and bumpy,” adding that vulnerabilities in major developed economies remain “and will drag growth in developing countries,” DPA/M&C writes.

Despite the relatively quick pace of economic recovery in developing countries, the report “warns the rebound may not be strong enough to meet poverty reduction targets,” the news service reports (1/18). “Persistent high levels of underemployment … as well as continued widespread malnourishment will remain concerns in the near outlook,” the report said, Reuters reports (1/18). In terms of the MDG targets, the report said the “economic downturn has caused important setbacks in progress,” noting that “[a]chieving the millennium target of halving global poverty rates by 2015 (from 1990 levels) is within reach for the world as a whole, although it will not be met in sub-Saharan Africa nor, possibly, in parts of South Asia.”

“[T]he crisis has significantly increased the challenge of achieving targets for universal primary education, reducing child and maternal mortality and improving environmental and sanitary conditions,” the report states (1/18). 

The report also found that emerging economies “attracted more foreign investment than developed countries in 2010 for the first time,” a second Reuters article reports (Lynn, 1/17). “Although developing economies will continue to lead global economic output, their growth is likely to decline to 6% from 2011-12, following 7% in 2010, the report projected,” according to the Bangkok Post (1/19).

For Africa, the report said “overall growth has ‘masked’ substantial disparities in economic performances by African countries,” according to Reuters. “Ethiopia, Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Zambia were among a few countries with ‘fast-growing’ economies with growing manufacturing and service sectors, as well as improving agricultural production and investments in infrastructure. The U.N. projected Ethiopia’s economy would grow by 9.4 percent this year. Chad, Niger and Algeria on the other hand, were among a few countries expected to face weak economic expansion in 2011,” the news service notes (1/18).  

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

KFF Headquarters: 185 Berry St., Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94107 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270 | Email Alerts: | |

The independent source for health policy research, polling, and news, KFF is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.