African Economic Outlook 2012

28 May 2012


Given Africa´s rapidly growing population, the demographic pressure on labour markets will continue in many African countries. The AEO analyzes the long-term benefits that could accrue to countries taking advantage of the youth bulge and the more immediate challenge of finding gainful employment for the youthful population.

Part of the problem is the mismatch between skills demanded by employers and the types of education acquired by the youth. In this regard, the AEO recognizes the differences in challenges between low income and middle income countries in which the level of education is higher. Given the small size of the formal sector in most African countries, governments must change their outlook on the informal sector and on rural areas and promote job creation there too.



  • With almost 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world.
  • With the recovery of North African economies and sustained improvement in other regions, growth across the continent is expected to accelerate to 4.5% in 2012 and 4.8% in 2013.
  • Rising food and fuel prices caused Africa’s median inflation rate to increase from 5.8% in 2010 to 7.9% in 2011. It is expected to gradually ease in 2012 and 2013.
  • Based on current trends, 59% of 20-24 year olds – 137 million people – will have secondary education in 2030 compared to 42% today. And 12 million 20-24 year olds will have tertiary education in 2030.

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