In a presentation to the Global Economic Governance Programme at Oxford University's Department of Politics and International Relations, his argument goes like this:
- Economic growth in Africa has averaged 6% in the past decade
- Between 2000 and 2008 economic growth accelerated in 27 of Africa's 30 largest countries
- In 2009, despite the collapse of commodity prices, Africa was the only region of the world not to record a single quarter of negative growth
- This growth is fast enough and sustained enough in many African countries to move the into the "emerging economy" realm with many opportunities for private investment, external and internal
- The growth is not differentiated much by resource endowments and geography, but more by the decline in conflict and the increased domain of the market
- Economic growth transforms institutions, which are very heterogeneous and often very different from the Western models--institutions don't have to be developed to get growth
- Because of the low starting growth base and the opportunities for technology leapfrogging, Jennings predicts that Africa will become the fastest growing region in the world in the next 5 years
But we also know that:
- growth has pretty uneven effects on income poverty reduction. Its effects depend on initial inequality, the sector growth occurs in, and its governance,
- Income poverty is just one dimension of material well-being,
- Not all forms of well being are material, many consist of freedoms
We need more conversations going between those who worry about how to get growth (and where to invest to spur it on) and those who worry about what different types of growth will do for poverty and well-being.
Nothing new in that plea, but the two tribes remain stubbornly separate. How do we get them to join up their thinking? This is an important challenge - especially for the many new initiatives on private sector development and development.
We need more research on the how different types of growth impact on poverty, especially private sector-led growth.