Solving Africa’s Growth Puzzles


  • 2013•05•28

    Interviewed by: Carl-Gustav Lindén


    Photo by Paul Keller

    In the video below, Andy McKay, professor of development economics at the University of Sussex, discusses the motivating factors behind UNU-WIDER’s Growth and Poverty Project (GAPP), which re-examines Africa’s growth, poverty and inequality trends. While the growth rates in the continent have been much better over the last 15 years than previously, this story hides many puzzles that researchers are trying to solve.

    “What we don’t know much about is how this [growth] turns into better living conditions for people that live in Africa — to what extent has that growth been associated with poverty reduction, or have the benefits of this growth gone to multinational companies and rich people and not accrued to the ordinary people in Africa”, says Prof. McKay.

    He also notes that, despite better access to data on Africa’s poverty, the fastest growing countries are those where researchers have the hardest time to understand the situation of the poorest people, like Angola, Sudan and even Nigeria.

    “We don’t really have a consistent story about what happens to poverty”, McKay says.

    On 20–21 September 2013, there will be a chance to get involved in the discussion on the performance, prospects, and policies for promoting more inclusive growth in Africa. Andy McKay his and fellow GAPP researchers will convene in Helsinki then for the UNU-WIDER development conference  “Inclusive Growth in Africa: Measurement, Causes and Consequences“.

    That conference will encourage dialogue between and among researchers and policymakers from the academic, government, and international development communities.

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    Adapted from “Solving Africa’s Growth Puzzles: an interview with Andy McKay“, which appeared in the WIDER Angle newsletter of UNU-WIDER.