How Sub-Saharan Africa fares
The figures here show how Sub-Saharan Africa is performing in relation to eight earlier transformers on various indicators of depth.
This inaugural issue of the African Transformation Report highlights a subset of 15 Sub-Saharan countries, the ACET 15. Future issues will progressively expand the coverage to include other African countries. The ACET 15 are Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Nigeria in West Africa; Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda in East Africa; Cameroon in Central Africa; and Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Mauritius in Southern Africa. Rather representative, these countries comprise 70% of the population (in 2010), 76% of GDP, 85% of manufacturing value added, 65% of agricultural value added, and 80% of exports. All the subregions of Sub-Saharan Africa are represented (some more than others), as are the major official languages of English, French, and Portuguese. Countries in conflict or recently emerging from conflict are not included, since reconstruction is more pressing in these countries than economic transformation. Working with local think tanks, ACET prepared country transformation studies for each of the 15, assessing the transformation record, platform, and prospects.
The comparator countries are Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam, whose economies 30–40 years ago had several features in common with many African countries today—widespread poverty, low productivity, low levels of technology, and limited exports. But they ignited and sustained long periods of high GDP and export growth, technological upgrading, and substantial improvements in the lives of their people to become middle- or high-income countries.