“Informal Employment Sector” In Africa Hampering Economic Growth

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire – Jan 17, 2019: “Africa’s general economic performance continues to improve, with gross domestic product growth reaching an estimated 3.5 percent in 2018, about the same as in 2017 and up 1.4 percentage points from the 2.1 percent in 2016.”

Continent of Africa

The statement is contained in the foreword of the just released African Economic Outlook 2019 Report of the African Development Bank Group (ADB).

On jobs, growth and dynamism on the continent, the report which is not the official position of the ADB summarizes that:

  • Africa’s labor force is projected to be nearly 40 percent larger by 2030. If current trends continue, only half of new labor force entrants will find employment, and most of the jobs will be in the informal sector. This implies that close to 100 million young people could be without jobs.
  • The rapid growth achieved in Africa in the past two decades has not been pro-employment. Analysis of growth episodes reveals better employment outcomes when the growth episodes were led by manufacturing, suggesting that industrialization is a robust pathway to rapid job creation.
  • African economies have prematurely deindustrialized as the reallocation of labor has tilted toward services, limiting the growth potential of the manufacturing sector. To dodge the informality trap and chronic unemployment, Africa needs to industrialize.
  • Key factors impeding industrialization, particularly manufacturing growth, are limited firm dynamism. Firm growth and survival are held back by corruption, an unconducive regulatory environment, and inadequate infrastructure.
  • Estimates from Enterprise Surveys show that 1.3–3 million jobs are lost every year due to administrative hurdles, corruption, inadequate infrastructure, poor tax administration, and other red tape. This figure is close to 20 percent of the new entrants to the labor force every year.
  • Small and medium firms have had very little chance of growing into large firms. Such stunting, coupled with low firm survival rates, has stifled manufacturing activity in most African countries.
  • Reviving Africa’s industrialization requires a commitment to improve the climate that supports firm growth. Industrial policies could benefit from assessing production knowledge and identifying competitive products to inform the design of robust national and subnational industrial strategies.



The report cited the prevalence of the “informal employment sector” as a key issue in the growth of the labor force.It referenced the  International Labor Organization’s definition of the informal employment sector  as, “…non-contracted jobs that are not regulated or protected and that confer no rights to social protection.5 Informal jobs include noncontracted jobs in the formal sector, as well as all jobs in the informal sector, and account for more than half of all jobs worldwide. Typically, statistics on informal employment exclude agriculture; when agricultural jobs are included, the share of informal employment rises to almost 61 percent worldwide.”

The challenge for Africa is that if no meaningful change is adopted, jobs created will trend more towards the informal sector for nearly 100 million Africans by 2030. Factors associated with the perpetuation of the informal sector system in most places are attributed to economic recession, high unemployment, low productivity employment and lower wages.

Women are disproportiantely impacted; a higher proportion of women’s employment (79 percent) than of men’s (68 percent) except in North Africa”, the report says.

market women in africa
Market Women In Africa

In order to address the issue, African countries have to firstly understand the barriers which impact the perpetuation of the informal sector such as labor regulations, creation of stable, better and high paying jobs and a well prepared workforce; especially among the youths and women.

1999 – 2010 data disclosed in the report says that there is over 80% informality in low income African countries like Burkina Faso, Niger, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mali. Zambia and Benin. The informal sector under 80% exit for countries like Liberia, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Lesotho.

South Africa and Mauritius have low unemployment and rank under 20% informal sector.

In reference to growth acceleration between 1958 – 2016, ten African countries made the list in Manufacturing, Service, Agriculture and Mining and include, Boatswana, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Burkina.

Boatswana led in all sectors of growth followed by Egypt.

“Industrial development has been called the “quintessential escalator for developing countries.”21 It has the potential to create decent jobs on a large scale, stimulate innovation, and enhance productivity across all sectors. Within industry, manufacturing exhibits unconditional labor productivity convergence and could be a powerful driver of aggregate income convergence.22 However, even though the industry sector exhibits stronger effects than other sectors on the elasticity of employment to growth during growth acceleration episodes, there are indications that Africa is experiencing premature deindustrialization.

miners in africa
Miners in Africa

That is a major concern for job creation potential in high-productivity sectors and for long-term prosperity. Despite lower initial shares of industry (manufacturing, construction, and utilities) in employment and the economy in Africa than in other regions, industry’s shares have been growing very slowly…”, the ADB Report says.

Some obstacles to doing business in Africa include the lack of finance, unreliable or lack of electric power, political instability, corruption and knowledge and high taxes and regulations.

According to the report, “…The 2019 Outlook  shows that macroeconomic and employment outcomes are better when industry leads growth…”

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine


New Ebola Virus Found In Bats In Sierra Leone.

A new Ebola virus has been found in bats in Sierra Leone, two years after the end of an outbreak that killed over 11 000 across West Africa, the government said on Thursday.

It is not yet known whether the new Bombali species of the virus – which researchers say could be transmitted to humans – can develop into the deadly Ebola disease.

The AFP quotes a Sierra Leonen Health ministry official Amara Jambai as saying, “At this time, it is not yet known if the Bombali Ebola virus has been transmitted to people or if it causes disease in people but it has the potential to infect human cells.”

“This is early stages of the findings,” Jambai added, calling on the public to remain calm while awaiting further research.

A health ministry spokesperson and a researcher who worked on the discovery confirmed the findings to AFP.

Researchers who found the new virus in the northern Bombali region are now working with the Sierra Leone government to determine whether any humans were infected.

“As precautionary measures, people should refrain from eating bats,” Harold Thomas, health ministry spokesperson told AFP.

CDC -Ebola workers
Ebola Workers

The worst-ever Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in southern Guinea before spreading to two neighbouring west African countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The West African outbreak was caused by the Zaire species, which has historically been the most deadly in humans since it was first identified in 1976.

That outbreak killed more than 11 300 people out of nearly 29 000 registered cases, according to World Health Organisation estimates.

The WHO declared the epidemic over in January this year, but this was followed by flare-ups in all three countries.



Liberia: Lawmaker Boycotts Official Independence Anniversary Programs Over Flooding In His Constituency

Map of Margibi County, Liberia.

Monrovia, 23 Jul 2018: Hard-line representative Tarponwe Tarparosa of the sub political division of Margibi County in the West African nation of Liberia says he is boycotting all programs and activities being held in his constituency to mark the 171st independence anniversary of the small African country, blaming government’s insensitivity toward thousands of flood victims in his county.

Flooded homes in Margibi County, Liberia from Facebook

Rep. Tarponwe told the state broadcaster ELBC radio that he prefers spending the independence anniversary with his constituents “to help them mitigate their plight rather than engaging in festive celebrations while inhabitants of his district remained uprooted and homeless due to flooding.”

A weeklong downpour last week inundated many coastal areas of Liberia but Margibi county was hardest hit and victims have received no assistance from the largely unprepared national disaster relief program.

Bus Disabled by flood in Margibi County posted on Facebook.

The Liberian Government has remained largely acquiescent in the wake of the flood disaster, thus infuriating the Margibi lawmaker to take the unprecedented action.

Flooding inundated much of the only highway leading to the country’s international airport and forcing commuters to use the gate-15- Harbel route in order to access the Roberts International Airport (RIA) or the southeastern port city of Buchanan, national radio advised motorists.

Flooding inMargibi County, Liberia posted on Facebook

Representative Tarponwe ordered his chief of office staff to return invitations and program brochures sent him by the country’s chief protocol officer.

According to the website Reliefweb, “Continuous rainfall since 13 July has caused heavy floods in Monrovia and other parts of Liberia. As of 19 July, 51 648 people were affected by floods across seven counties, according to the National Disaster Management Agency, which is leading on the response and coordination.

At least 15 000 people have been displaced, with some in temporary shelters such as schools and other public buildings. A rapid needs assessment is on-going to evaluate the impact. Emergency needs of the affected population include food, safe-drinking water, shelter and non-food items. In the event the rainfall continues, the situation is likely to worsen, beyond the 50,000-people affected by floods expected in the National Contingency Plan.”

Meanwhile, our correspondent in the Liberian capital says economic hardship is making life in Monrovia so lacklustre even during the happy time for Liberians of all walks of life.

Redlight Business District in Liberia- photo courtesy of YouTube

Economic activities have been minimal at the major trading centers of Water side and Red light shopping districts while most streets have been fairly empty.

Some social media posts are criticizing the Liberian government over its insensitivity to consequences of the flooding and economic hardships.

By Tepitapia Sannah in Monrovia

West African Journal Magazine

Opinion- Deportations Must Be Banished Among Africans

The debate around immigration has intensified the past few years on the Western Hemisphere.

South African Refugees photo courtesy of CFR

In fact, it has become a prominent conversation that has seen the rise of far-right politicians who owe their success to anti-immigration populism. 

Migration is not a new phenomenon.

For as long as the world has existed, beings have been moving around. The current conversations around migration are not much about the fact that people move but more about the fact that poor and vulnerable citizens of developing countries are migrating to so-called rich nations in search of safety, security, and prosperity. 

From Syrian refugees that are escaping a bloody civil war and are stranded at the gates of Europe, to African migrants that die by thousands in the Mediterranean in their attempt to reach the “colonizer’s land” to the Latin American migrants that are arrested and separated from their children at the border of the United States and Mexico, sad and disheartening are the stories of migration that have dominated mainstream and social media the past months. 

Illustration – courtesy of UC Davis Poverty Center

Amid such devastating news that make one regret belonging to this antipathic generation, very little is said about the millions of people who migrate within their continent and region. In Africa for instance, 92% of migrants go to another African nation. The remaining 8% are divided among other continents with less than 3% making it or attempt to make it to Europe.

The “conflict-torn and property wretched continent “ whose people despite all the past decades of imperialist attacks and pillage have demonstrated an unparalleled form of resilience and are still progressing economically at a faster rate than any other continent in the world has been welcoming far more immigrants from Asia and Europe than it is sending out. 

It is understandable that western nations reject taking their share of the blame when it comes to exploiting other nations, causing and feeding conflicts that leave millions of people displaced and puts their lives in jeopardy. Nonetheless, the hypocrisy of the West lays in the argument of the fascists and the racists who claim vehemently that they are being invaded by other races and soon enough, they will lose their identity. 

Poverty Map of Africa photo – courtesy of Behance

First of all, culture and identity are dynamic. The French culture today was not the same a century ago and the American one wasn’t the same half a century ago. No one can stop identities from changing and drastic immigration policies motivated by the fear of the unknown and hatred toward the most vulnerable and the poor will not save the West from losing its contemporary identity which in a few decades or centuries might look gregarious to the future occupants of this planet. 

The West does not have anything against migrants but it has everything against poor people.

The American President Trump made it clear that their country wouldn’t mind receiving Norwegian migrants and when a former president of France Nicolas Sarkozy talked about “immigration choisie”, their selective immigration process is a way of ensuring that the most educated and the wealthiest migrate to their countries. 

The West has always felt insecure and constantly leaves in paranoia. This paranoia has caused humanity two world wars that left millions of people dead. The insecurity of the West pushes it to constantly see a threat in whatever people or nations they are unable to profit from beyond exploiting them physically, economically and politically.

There is this attitude that is intrinsic to western nations which makes them constantly see others as foes they do not just need to compete with but must dominate and control. As a result, they are always seeking to grow their economic, military and political power.

And the poor, undereducated and unskilled migrants are not the kind of people they foresee can help them achieve that. Rather, they see them as a liability and the very selfish and parasitic West that has stolen from every single continent cannot afford to share the massive wealth it has acquired at the expense of billions of people’s dignity whose very existence is threatened by poverty, climate change, terrorism, civil wars all of whom are the direct consequences of the West’s insatiable imperialist conquests and selfish neoliberal politics. 

African migrants- courtesy of the Citizen

The media which is the most effective brainwashing tool used by populists to indoctrinate their ignoramus citizens have played a role in depicting migration as a new phenomenon that will eventually lead to the destruction and the fall of the West. A destruction that failed to occur when the same western nations were butchering millions of Africans, Asians, Native Indians for many centuries. 

The one thing that the West can never claim as its invention is migration and nothing can the Europeans and their American cousins do to stop it. The exhibition of inhumanity Western governments are getting better and better at will only further alienate them from the rest of the world. A world that they need more than anyone else. 

When you are born on a land as dry as Europe, you can’t afford arrogance because everything you own, and use was produced from the resources of other continents. And the sooner the West sucks in its belligerent pride, the better for them because it has more to lose from that hatred than the world has to gain.

Author: Farida Bemba Nabourema is a Togolese human rights and political activist.

UNHCR Reports $269.6 Million Funding Gap for Its West Africa Operations

The UN office responsible to catering to world refugees says there is a huge funding gap for its West Africa operations.

Map of West Africa

According to its 2018 Funding update issued on Tuesday, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) disclosed that of its target of $289.1 million dollars, it has received only $19.4 million representing only 7 percent of its overall target.

The funding gap is $269.6 million for its West Africa sub-regional offices:

Burkina Faso –  8% funded. Gap is $22.9 million
Cote d’Ivoire – 7% funded. Gap is $14.8 million
Ghana – No funding. Gap is $8.1 million
Guinea – No funding. Gap is $653,401
Liberia – No funding. Gap is $11.6 million
Mali – 7% funded. Gap is $19.8 million
Niger – 8% funded. Gap is $79.9 million
Nigeria – No funding. Gap is $80.3 million and
Senegal Regional Office – minor funding. Funding gap – $39.1 million

Germany, the European Union, Italy, Sweden, UN Peacebuilding Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNESCO and private donors in Italy made restricted contributions with Germany making the bulk of the contribution – $1.9 million dollars.

Burkinabe Refugees
Burkinabe Refugees

Their combined contributions to West Africa refugee assistance totaled $19.4 million.

Other international major donors who made un-restricted and regional funding include:

Sweden – $98 million
Norway –  $43 million
Netherlands -$39 million
United Kingdom – $32 million
Denmark – $25 million
Australia – $19 million and
Switzerland – $15 million

Another 26 donors, including  the only African country of Algeria, also made un-restricted and regional funding to the mission of the UNHCR in West Africa.

Food insecurity, migration from conflict hot areas including some early instances of climate change are forcing people into long term refugee situations in the African sub-regional which could be further destabilized unless adequate funding is secured. Donor fatigue and internal economic pressures on donor countries are challenging the ability of the UN to easily raise the needed funds to provide assistance for refugees.

One major donor missing from the UNHCR latest update is the United States.

The UNHCR, which was  founded in 1950, works to protect and assist refugees around the world.


In a separate development, the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have released their Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response Bulletin for the period between January 29 – February 4, 2018 .

Political Subdivision Map of Liberia map
Map of Liberia

According to the bulletin,  a total of  274 suspected cases of immediately reportable diseases was made with 31 deaths.

Of this number, Nimba County in northeastern Liberia is reported to have a measles outbreak with 202 suspected cases with the next highest occurrence of 58 in Montserrado County, the seat of the capital.

Eight maternal deaths were reported from Bong (2), Montserrado (2), Maryland (1), Nimba (1), Margibi (1) and River Gee (1) Counties.

Reported causes of death were: Postpartum hemorrhage (3), Eclampsia (1), Abrutio placenta (1), Sepsis (1), Pulmonary embolism (1) and Cardiac pulmonary arrest (1)
All eight deaths was reported to have occurred in the health facility.

Of the recent meningococcal outbreak in the West African country, all contacts remain in medical surveillance.

By Emmanuel Abalo

West African Journal Magazine




Eurasia Group 2018 Risks Group: Africa

The Eurasia Group has released its 2018 Top Risks Group which includes Africa. The following is an in-depth analysis for Africa.


THE “AFRICA RISING” NARRATIVE REMAINS APPEALING, but this year will face a new challenge. The continent’s core countries (Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ethiopia, among others) have recently demonstrated robust investment climates, and they’ve been generally sealed off from the troubles of the “periphery” (Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, etc.). But in 2018, negative spillover from Africa’s unstable periphery will increasingly spoil the continent’s success stories.

The threat lies in security risks: militancy and terrorism. The dangers posed by Al Shabaab in East Africa and Al Qaeda in West Africa are not new, but they’re set to intensify. Despite losing territory in 2017, Al Shabaab is still carrying out successful one-off surprise attacks and will look to more international targets in 2018. The Islamic State is likely to increase activity in West Africa and expand into East Africa as it is pushed from traditional strongholds in the Middle East.

Boko Haram Fighters
Boko Haram Fighters

Countries targeted by militancy and terrorism are more vulnerable than they’ve been in years, and external partners are less able to provide unified support.
Target countries are more vulnerable than they’ve been in years, and external partners are less able to mount a united front of support. Local actors in “core” countries are already suffering from weakened political capacity. Kenya’s government will focus on economic recovery after a prolonged election cycle. Nigeria enters an election season with uncertainty over its current leader’s health. South Africa faces internal political strife. Angola is busy with a fresh leadership transition. Mozambique is still struggling with a years-long debt scandal.

Foreign partners who have helped stabilize weak governments in the past are distracted. In the east, a preoccupied Europe has reduced its salary support for troops of the UN-mandated African Union Mission to Somalia operating in the Al Shabaab hotspot. Across the Sahel, the G5 counterterrorism partnership of Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Mauritania plans to launch a 5,000-strong force in March 2018. But differences among France, the US, and UN officials will slow the necessary funding, leaving the region at risk, despite an injection of financial support from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The growing fragility of Africa’s top performers has several implications. Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Ethiopia face increased security costs at a time when their governments need to reduce spending. A spike in attacks would also undermine foreign investment perceptions already shaken by the election-related violence in Kenya, a growing social protest movement in Ethiopia, and presidential succession uncertainties in Nigeria and Uganda.


Foreign investors may see their assets directly targeted. Tourist and energy installations will be especially at risk. This will put downward pressure on FDI into the continent, leaving development reliant on limited local capital. And the pressure of security-related refugee flows—on countries in the region and in Europe—will not abate, creating a headache for policymakers on both sides of the Mediterranean.


According to its website, the Eurasia Group says it connects geopolitics and business to provide valuable strategic and operational insights. Its combination of strategy consulting methodologies, deep industry sector coverage, and best-in-class country expertise is applied to areas including:

Risk-adjusted market assessment, market prioritization, and market entry planning

Political risk assessment and messaging strategy

M&A macro risk due diligence

Enterprise risk management & process design support

Strategic risk identification and monitoring

Source: The Eurasia Group


Attack On Humanitarian Convoy North-East Nigeria Leaves 4 Civilians Dead – UN Aid Official

18 December 2017 – At least four civilians are reported to have been killed when an aid convoy transporting food supplies was ambushed by armed individuals in Nigeria’s strife-torn north-east region, the top United Nations humanitarian official in the country said.


The UN News Center says the attack took place along the Dikwa-Gamboru road in Borno state, and also resulted in the destruction of basic aid items initially destined to alleviate the suffering of thousands of conflict-affected women, children and men.

“Violence against convoys carrying humanitarian aid is unacceptable and can result in concerning limitations in our ability to provide life-saving relief to those who need it the most,” said Edward Kallon, the Humanitarian Coordination in Nigeria, in a news release issued Monday.

“We must ensure the safety of aid workers and aid convoys across the north-east of Nigeria, so people in need of assistance can access it in a timely manner and in sufficient quantity. Many lives are at risk,” he underscored.

The conflict in Nigeria’s north-east provoked by the Boko Haram terrorist group has triggered a deep humanitarian crisis. Since the start of the conflict in 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed and thousands of women and girls abducted.

Borno along with Adamawa and Yobe are the worst affected with nearly seven million people in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 50 per cent of whom are children.

Since January 2017, despite major challenges, relief efforts by the UN as well as partners have managed to assist over five million conflict-affected people, reaching about five million with health care assistance, three million with food security interventions, 936,000 with nutritional support, and over 1.3 million with safe drinking water.

Owing to such humanitarian efforts, for the first time since the onset of the crisis, hunger has considerably declined in the region.

FAO Buildings

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the number of people facing acute hunger has halved since June-August – from 5.2 million to 2.6 million people.

However, there are fears that without sustained and timely assistance, the good work could quickly be undone, leaving more than 3.5 million people with acute hunger, as well as at the risk of famine, by August 2018, warned the UN food security agency.


ADB Approves $10M Investment to Boost Agriculture and Nutrition In Africa

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire – A $10 million equity investment  has been approved by the Board of Directors of African Development Bank (ADB) in the South African based private equity investment company  Phatisa Food Fund2 (PFF2) to boost agriculture and nutrition across Africa.

Maize Field in Malawi

A press statement issued in Abidjan and copied to West African Journal Magazine says the project will cover the entire African continent, with a sharper focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

PFF2 will focus on food/consumer related investments including integrated food production, processing, services and inputs (seed, fertilizer & chemicals), mechanization, distribution, logistics and infrastructure, packaging, food services and retail, the release said.

Farming In Liberia
Market Stalls in Liberia

PFF2  is averaging investments of about #0 million in the West African countries of Ghana, Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and in Ugandan, Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa and southern African countries of Zambia, Malawi,, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The release further said, PPF2’s investment strategy is aligned with the Bank’s High5 priorities of feeding and industrializing Africa. It is in line with the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy, focusing on inclusive growth, strengthening agriculture and food security, and access to local finance, among other Bank strategies as well as government agriculture and agro-industry policies across African countries.

Press Statement – AFDB