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New Leaders Can Transform Africa
May 12, 2014

This is part of a series of brief articles on trade in Africa. During his recent trip to Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the importance of trade.

African economies are growing. But in order to transform these economies so they can eradicate extreme poverty, Africans leaders need to diversify production, make exports competitive, increase production and upgrade technology, according to the 2014 African Transformation Report, released in March by the policy institute African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET).

“Economies will then become much more prosperous, less dependent on foreign assistance and much more resilient to shocks,” K.Y. Amoako wrote in the report. Amoako is the founder of ACET and a former executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa.

ACET states that the U.N. panel on the post-2015 development agenda has identified four things African leaders need to do to transform their economies. First is to create opportunities for productive and stable jobs to make growth inclusive.

Second, the panel says that African leaders should help their countries raise productivity and sustain growth by intensifying agriculture and industry, and by expanding services.

“An essential part of economic transformation is acquiring the capability to produce a widening array of goods and services and then choosing which ones to specialize in based on international relative prices,” ACET says in its report.

Third, the panel advises Africans to create an environment for business to flourish and to connect with major domestic, regional and international markets. And fourth, the panel says that African leaders need to find new ways of producing and consuming that protect the environment.

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