Over the past few years Africa has staged a major come back from the misery growth period of the 1980s and 1990s. This impressive economic performance has rekindled hopes for the continentâ€™s economic competitiveness. But in spite this, significant job growth across Africa has continued to be illusive. To overcome this, economic transformation programs in Africa must adopt an inclusive growth strategy that creates well paying jobs and reduce poverty. Now looking directly at achievements in Africa on the MDGs, it is clear that there is sustained progress, as several countries appear to be on track to achieving the targets of universal primary education; gender parity at all levels of education; lower HIV/AIDS prevalence among 15-24 year olds; increased proportion of the population with access to antiretroviral drugs; and increased proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments. To support this, Africa is now clearly the worldâ€™s second fastest growing region. With all this, extreme poverty rates among African countries have declined, although not rapidly enough to reach their 2015 targets. For example, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty (on less than $ 1.25 a day) in Sub Saharan Africa as a group fell from 56.5 per cent in 1990 to 48.5 per cent in 2010. This is about 20.3 percentage points off the 2015 target. Now compare this with just 4.1 points for South Asia. So there is still much work to be done on poverty in Africa, and this is why income inequality is still very high in many African countries. I conclude that aggressive and well targeted conditional cash transfer programs can help reduce income inequality and poverty in Africa. This is what Brazil did with its Bolsa familia conditional cash transfer program which has lifted millions out of poverty and greatly reduced income inequality. I can tell you this. I designed the brand of conditional cash transfer (CCT) program being used throughout Nigeria today. All it needs is to be adequately funded and well targeted. To be successful, African governments should strive to incorporate these kinds of CCTs in to policies that promote accountable and transparent governance that focuses on growing the private sector in order to expand the middle class and sustain the ongoing pace of economic growth. I am Magnus Kpakol and that's my view.
Posted: Oct 27th, 2014 @ 08:26:32 AM