The New Prosperity: Strategies for Improving Well-Being in Sub-Saharan Africa

International Development

The New Prosperity: Strategies for Improving Well-Being in Sub-Saharan Africa

Commentary
Posted on: 1st May 2012
Andy Ratcliffe
Former Managing Director, Effective Governance

    The ‘Africa rising’ narrative is now a central part of the debate over the continent’s development. With annual growth rates of between 5- 8 per cent and rapidly increasing inward investment sub-Saharan African states are facing the challenge of how best to translate this growth into well-being for their citizens. This report looks into those challenges and assesses the impact government reforms are having.

    To give an overall picture of ‘well-being’ levels the report assesses performance across 10 key dimensions: income, economic stability, employment, income equality, civil society, governance, education, health, environment, and infrastructure. Of the top thirty countries globally that have made the greatest improvements in well-being over the last five years, eight are from sub-Saharan Africa. All of the continent’s best performers have married stable economic environments with good governance while the most significant welfare progress is within health provision with countries ranging from Ethiopia to Tanzania registering significant improvements.

    The report also reveals that over the last five years sub-Saharan Africa’s progress on health has outstripped that of other regions of the developing world including Latin America and the Middle East.

    The importance of governance

    The importance of governance

    And the report finds that governance matters in boosting well-being. We find that in most of the top performing sub-Saharan countries there is a government which has a strong political commitment to reform, the ability to ruthlessly prioritise those reforms, and the systems and structures to make sure they happen.

    Coverage online

    Coverage online

    The report was also covered in both the Financial Times and the Economist with AGI Director Andy Ratcliffe co-authoring a piece with BCG Partner Craig Baker on the FT's Beyond Brics blog; and the Economist's Boabag column looking at the results of the report. You can read both pieces by clicking below.

    The Financial Times: To find African development, look for good governance by the sea 

    The Economist: Development in Africa, growth and other good things

    This article originally appeared here.

     

    The work described here was carried out by the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative, it is now being continued by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

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