ADDIS ABABA – Africa has failed to reduce unemployment rates and poverty despite its economic growth over the past decade, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said Thursday.
"Africa managed to register growth during the past decade; however, it could not create more jobs and reduce poverty," Taffere Tesfachew, UNCTAD's division director for Africa, least developed countries and special programs, said at the launch of the conference's economic development in Africa report in Addis Ababa.
"The continent failed to reduce unemployment and poverty because consumption has been a dominant driver," Tesfachew said.
The UNCTAD official stressed the need for African countries to diversify their products.
"Productivity, in particular in the manufacturing sector, is low in Africa. On the contrary, the service sector registered better growth," he said.
According to the report, the services sector tends to dominate African economies.
"Its share of total value-added in 2000-2011 was about 47 percent, compared to 37 percent for industry and 16 percent for agriculture," the report found.
"The dominance of the services sector should be of concern because it is driven mostly by low-productivity activities, such as informal and non-tradable services," the report added.
"This suggests that Africa's recent [economic] growth is fragile and is unlikely to be sustained in the medium- to long-term," it noted.
Tesfachew stressed that trade had contributed to growth on the continent.
"Private investment is important, but should not be promoted at the expense of public investment," the report said. "Private-public investment partnership is important for development."
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