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African Progress Panel Report Highlights Status Of African Economies At World Economic Forum On Africa

Africa’s economies are expanding, but the continent is still too dependent on the export of raw materials, and trade between African nations needs to be increased, the African Progress Panel (APP) said in a report released Thursday at the World Economic Forum on Africa, which is taking place this week in Cape Town, the Associated Press/Washington Post reports.

The panel “called on African leaders to ensure growth does not ‘remain inequitable, jobless, volatile and largely inadequate,'” the news service reports. The report notes that Africa’s “strong economic growth has not translated into widespread job creation and poverty reduction.” As a result, many African countries will not achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals by 2015, according to the report (5/4).

The report “focuses heavily on the transformative power of partnerships to drive sustained social and economic development,” according to an APP press release (5/5). Development partnerships “are among the most promising, and potentially most effective” options for African growth, according to the report, which also highlighted the “increasingly important” role of private partners, the Guardian writes. The report also said the international community, governments, the private sector and civil society “can do more to facilitate the spread of successful partnership models across countries and sectors,” adding that “doing so is in their own self-interest” (Ford, 5/5).

“The importance of partnerships for development is becoming more and more evident. We know of many partnerships in Africa that work and change people’s lives, but not enough of them are replicated or brought to scale,” former U.N. Secretary-General and APP Chair Kofi Annan said at the launch of the report, according to the release (5/4).

USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, who is a co-chair of the World Economic Forum on Africa, said, “While Africa’s future is up to Africans, the United States will continue to play a major role with our African partners in shaping that future,” according to a press release from USAID. “Our partnership with Africa is based on our mutual desire to boost economic growth and prosperity for all, to achieve peace and security, and to promote democracy and good governance,” he added (5/5).

RBM Report Examines Malaria’s Impact On Business In Africa

At the forum on Thursday, the Roll Back Malaria partnership released a report (.pdf) highlighting the effect of malaria on African businesses, Agence France-Presse reports.

“Malaria is bad for business. The disease is responsible for decreased productivity, employee absenteeism and increased health care spending and can negatively impact a company’s reputation,” the report said. The report “analysed economic impact of malaria prevention and programmes at three companies, which cut overall medical spending in company clinics and reduced absenteeism,” AFP notes.

“For these companies, investing in malaria prevention and control for workers and their dependants was cost effective, resulting in increasing their bottom line, producing an estimated rate of return of 28 percent under very conservative assumptions,” the study said (5/5). “Malaria control is a cost-effective business investment that offers a rapid rate of return. Both small and large businesses have proven to be critical contributors in the fight against malaria, whether they work independently or partner with national governments. Supporting malaria control is a contribution that the private sector can and should make; strengthening their businesses while savings lives,” an RBM press release states (5/5).