The prospects and challenges of African development should be showcased comprehensively in a single source for the benefit of all those with an interest in the continent – analysts, investors, international development partners and many others. This can only contribute positively to the development of the continent.
Other economic indicators are favourable: larger and increasing current account surpluses; some diversification away from commodity exports as volumes of manufacturing exports increase, and inflation in single digits. More broadly, conflict is declining although there are democratic and governance challenges. Driven by the strong natural resources sector, the continent has been witnessing increased inflows of FDI and foreign private capital and these trends are expected to continue.
At the same time, a great number of challenges are evident. High food and fuel prices threaten to undermine the progress made so far. It is essential that the international community move to deal with both the immediate consequences of these developments for African growth and service and support strategies to tackle this issue in the long term.
There is a more general challenge of engaging in the global economy.
The Commonwealth Secretariat seeks to support
Support for the African member countries takes forms such as building the capacity of ACP Africa countries in trade policy formulation (with their EPA and WTO negotiations and with the implementation of trade agreements); assisting countries to better record and manage debt; carrying out practical promotion of investment opportunities in the region through the Commonwealth Private Investment Initiative; helping improve export competitiveness and the development of small and medium sized enterprises; improving the performance of public services; the dissemination and implementation of the Commonwealth Code of Practice for the International Recruitment of Health Workers designed to assist Commonwealth countries to manage the international migration of health workers; and addressing Gender Equality and Equity (in collaboration with the SADC Secretariat) to ensure gender mainstreaming especially in the health and education sectors.
Development success depends on the support and long term commitment of the Development Partners. It is also important that development partners accept and support the view that strategies promoting good governance and economic development need to be country-grown, owned and driven.
The efforts of African countries themselves, and of developments partners, are bearing fruit. However, there is still much to be done. Despite the recent improvement in economic performance, the share of people living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan