Africa has come a long way since the economic turmoil of the 1980s, the decade of "structural adjustment". Growth has been strong, yet poverty remains high. Underlying the shortage of good livelihoods and high social inequality is the lack of diversification in Africa's economies-in contrast to Asia's success stories. Structural adjustment did not change the basic structure of economies. Many countries became mired in war in the 1980s and 1990s. This also brought about structural change, often of the worst kind. Today, structural transformation remains on the policy table, but many of the constraints, notably infrastructure and enterprise finance, have yet to be resolved. Agricultural productivity remains low. And without new manufacturing and service clusters, Africa is yet to follow East Asia in integrating with the global economy in ways that add value and good jobs. Instead, integration continues via Africa's traditional primary exports, making the region vulnerable to commodity price shocks. Today's policy agenda is subtle, and one in which the challenges have no easy answers.
Africa economic transformation poverty inequality aid