BRIEF September 26, 2019

Office of the Chief Economist, Africa Region (AFRCE)


Despite the incredible progress that so many African countries have made, poverty remains a defining part of the narrative around Africa. While the share of people living in extreme poverty has come down in the last decades, the number of people has gone up, due to rapid population growth during the same period, to reach nearly 416 million people. If left unchecked, extreme poverty in the world will become almost exclusively an African issue by 2030, in just ten years. In this episode of Afronomics, Albert Zeufack welcomes Kathleen Beegle and Luc Christiaensen, the main authors of a new World Bank study on Accelerating Poverty Reduction in Africa, to discuss what needs to be done differently to fight poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. 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


Sub-Saharan Africa's turnaround over the past couple of decades has been dramatic. After many years in decline, the continent's economy picked up in the mid-1990s. Along with this macroeconomic growth, people became healthier, many more youngsters attended schools, and the rate of extreme poverty declined from 54 percent in 1990 to 41 percent in 2015.


The Future of Work in Africa

Harnessing the Potential of Digital Technologies for All

This companion report to the World Development Report (WDR) 2019: The Changing Nature of Work addresses the key themes of creating productive jobs and addressing the needs of those left behind. It builds on and contextualizes some of WDR 2019’s main messages to key specificities of the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region. It focuses on how global trends especially the adoption of digital technologies (DTs) may change the nature of work in SSA by creating new opportunities and challenges.


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

Skills upgrading has a role in the acceleration of economic transformation and productivity growth, both in the informal and formal sector. Individuals and countries face a balancing act in making productive investments in both a wide range of skills so that Sub-Saharan Africa will thrive.


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



The Future of Work in Africa, Part 1: Can digital technologies really work for all?

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.
Part 2 and More podcasts on Afronomics Arrow