The African Development Bank Group in North Africa 2011 annual report addresses pertinent underlying issues that drove a largely unexpected and unprecedented wave of political reform in North Africa—namely, very high youth unemployment, entrenched poverty levels, income distribution disparity within countries, and challenges related to voice, accountability and transparency. “These dimensions of social and economic inclusion are all part of North Africa’s unfinished agenda, the overriding theme of this year’s Annual Report for North Africa,” the reports says.
Beyond the key challenges facing North Africa, the report presents regional integration as a means to overcoming difficulties relating to competitiveness. It adds that “Regional integration offers North Africa an opportunity to achieve economies of scale, while strengthening its competitiveness through targeted physical and economic infrastructure development and reforms to facilitate cross-border trade, investments and financial flows, knowledge-sharing and migration.”
The report also looks at how new economic players such as Brazil, Russia, India and China—the BRIC economies—were providing renewed opportunities and potential for growth in the region. It notes that since the BRICs have emerged as an indisputable force in the global economy, their impact and involvement in Africa had also become important. Africa, it says, remains attractive because of its huge natural resources and fast-growing consumer market.