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BRIEF February 10, 2020

Office of the Chief Economist, Africa Region (AFRCE)


Ten years ago, the world was fighting its way out of a global financial crisis, but prospects were strong for Sub-Saharan Africa to quickly recover. The World Bank started publishing Africa’s Pulse at that time, as a vehicle to help us track these trends and put the economic and development outlook squarely on the agenda for our discussions with African leaders and our partners.
Over the last decade, we have been riding the wave of the “Africa Rising” narrative through the economic ups and downs in the region, including a regional crisis that stopped progress in its tracks in the middle of the decade, from which many countries are still recovering.
We published the 20th edition of Africa’s Pulse in October, and as we close the decade, host Albert Zeufack, Chief Economist for the Africa Region at the World Bank, invites colleagues Shanta Devarajan, Punam Chuhan-Pole, and Cesar Calderon, who have led this important work over the last ten years. Listen to the podcast.

The Office of the Chief Economist in the Africa Region (AFRCE) generates timely and relevant knowledge on policy and institutional reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa. It produces research articles and reports on the most pressing development issues facing the continent, and fosters a community of economists interested in Sub-Saharan Africa, within the World Bank and on the continent.



Africa's Pulse

FALL 2019

Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa remained slow through 2019, hampered by persistent uncertainty in the global economy and the slow pace of domestic reforms, according to the 20th edition of Africa’s Pulse, the World Bank’s twice-yearly economic update for the region. Overall growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to rise to 2.6 percent in 2019 from 2.5 percent in 2018, which is 0.2 percentage points lower than the April forecast. This edition of Africa’s Pulse includes special sections on accelerating poverty reduction and promoting women’s empowerment.



JULY 2019

The overall CPIA score for IDA countries in Sub-Saharan Africa was 3.1 in 2018, the same as 2017, reflecting the slow progress in improving the quality of policy and institutional frameworks in the region.


Accelerating Poverty Reduction in Africa


This report looks beyond the traditional entry points of macroeconomic stability and growth to ask what more can be done to speed up poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa and where policy makers should focus their attention. This policy agenda requires growth where the poor work and live, and as such, this report centers on what it will take to increase the productivity and earnings of poor and vulnerable people and the financing necessary to make this happen.


The Future of Work in Africa

Harnessing the Potential of Digital Technologies for All

The report examines how the adoption of digital technologies may change the nature of work in sub-Saharan Africa. It concludes that African countries can turn the promise of digital into reality by enabling entrepreneurship, enhancing the productivity of the informal sector, and extending social protection coverage. Policy makers and private sector partners need to make bold choices and investments today that will allow the next generation of African workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators to thrive.


Profiting from Parity

Unlocking the Potential of Women's Business in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the world, with approximately 42 percent of the non-agricultural labor force classified as self-employed or employers. Yet most entrepreneurs are unable to grow their businesses beyond small-scale subsistence operations, impeding their contribution to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. This is particularly so for women.


The Skills Balancing Act in Sub-Saharan Africa

Countries face hard choices to strike the right balance between investing in skills that meet the needs of today's highly informal and agrarian economies and investing in the skills needed to foster economic transformation; and between investing in the skills for the current generation and in those for upcoming ones. This report presents rigorous evidence on interventions that work to improve learning, and Sub-Saharan Africa is often at the frontier of these innovations.


Africa Gender Innovation Lab (GIL)

The Gender Innovation Lab identifies scalable solutions for women’s economic empowerment in Africa through impact evaluations that generate evidence on how to close the gender gap in earnings, productivity, assets, and agency.

Think Africa Partnership (TAP)

The Think Africa Partnership bridges the gap between evidence and policy in order to support economic transformation and growth across Africa. TAP brings together an exceptional network of African young professionals, scholars and universities, domestic and regional 'knowledge to policy' think tanks, and a network of over 30 Chief Economic Advisors to Heads of State throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

The Chief Economists of Government Network

This initiative convenes and supports a peer network of chief economic advisors to presidents and prime ministers. It aims to strengthen knowledge-based policymaking in African countries to promote economic growth and transformation.

AERC/World Bank Visiting Scholars Program

The World Bank/African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) Visiting Scholars Program offers four-month research placements for AERC scholars to join the World Bank and its partners to work on African economic policy issues.


Albert G. Zeufack

Chief Economist

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State of the Africa Region


PODCAST Nov 14, 2019

Afronomics: What Will It Take to Accelerate Poverty Reduction in Africa?

The 2019 World Development Report focused on the Future of Work on a global scale, highlighting the real tension between job losses in “old” manufacturing sectors that are susceptible to automation, and potential job gains driven by innovation in “new” sectors.
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