Strong growth threatened by rising poverty
AFRICA's strong economic growth trajectory is at risk because of rising inequality, according to the 2012 Africa Progress Report.
Launched by the African Progress Panel (APP), the report said the region would increase the pace of its growth well beyond 5% over the next two years, but challenges required immediate attention.
Kofi Annan, chairman of the APP, said in the report that "disparities in basic life choices - for health, education and participation in society - are preventing millions of Africans from realising their potential, holding back social and economic progress in the process".
Annan said that Africa had seven of the world's fastest-growing economies, with 70% of Africa's population living in countries that had averaged economic growth rates in excess of 4% over the past decade.
But most countries were not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 because of slow progress in areas such as child nutrition, child survival, maternal health and education.
The need for equitable growth is all the more critical because of Africa's "profound demographic shift", which will see the continent's population double in three decades and continue to rise.
The report called for a "relentless focus" on jobs, justice and equity, to ensure sustainable and shared growth for the benefit of all. Failure to generate equitable growth could cause a demographic disaster marked by rising levels of youth unemployment, social dislocation and hunger.
The report said Africa's governments and development partners must urgently make plans for a push towards the 2015 goals.