With over half of Africa’s population under the age of 25 and 15 million young people[i] entering the job market every year, the issue of jobs is increasingly a priority for development agencies and African governments.
There has long been a concern among policymakers that too much of remittances are consumed and too little saved, limiting the development impact of migration. Financial literacy programmes have become an increasingly popular way to try and address this issue, but to date there is no evidence that they are effective in inducing savings among remittance-receiving households, nor is it clear whether such programmes are best targeted at the migrant, the remittance receiver, or both.
The explosion of trade in intermediate goods has created new development opportunities, but many of the jobs at the bottom of global value chains are low-paid, insecure, and dangerous. This column argues that participation in global value chains brings risks as well as opportunities. The gains from ‘moving up the global value chain’ are not equally distributed – large, professional, high-tech firms with diversified export markets, and high-skilled workers with formalised contracts benefit the most.
It is widely believed that a country’s endowment with infrastructure represents a critical factor to sustain economic growth, promote trade, and attract foreign direct investment (FDI). Trading opportunities improve since better infrastructure reduces the costs of transport, communication and other business-related services. At the same time, the country becomes more attractive to FDI as better infrastructure increases the productivity of private investment.
Nearly half of the population in Africa relies on agriculture to earn a livelihood. Agriculture is the backbone of many economies accounting for more than a quarter of regional GDP in some regions. Given its importance, donors have invested heavily in efforts that increase agricultural productivity.
Recent estimates suggest that at least 80% of developing countries worldwide are pursuing a policy of decentralisation. This push for local democracy has been taken up by the international development community, with a wave of recent publications extoling the virtues of local governments in improving local democracy, accountability, and central government performance.