Emerging markets offer the largest opportunity to accelerate productivity growth and sustain broader global economic prosperity. In Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, and in other parts of the continent, much of that opportunity lies in improving infrastructure, creating jobs for young people, and enhancing the value chain in agriculture.
In this interview with McKinsey’s Acha Leke, Nigeria’s Finance Minister and former World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala discusses why Africa must not be forgotten in the story of emerging markets and growth. An edited transcript of Okonjo-Iweala’s comments follows.
Anticipating growth in emerging markets: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance
Emerging markets have provided more than half the global growth at some point during the time of the financial crisis. And then they’ve slowed down, and we’re seeing some sluggish growth recently. Even China is now growing, or expecting to grow, at somewhat better than 7 percent.
Creating jobs for young people: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance
With the young population that will be one of the largest in the world, Africa stands a very good chance of turning this into a demographic dividend. As you know, if we do not create the job opportunities for the young people, then it could be a nightmare. We would need to make sure that we provide the means for productivity to rise within the continent, basically focusing on infrastructure. Because I think it’s on the back of that that we’ll be able to drive the private sector into creating the types of jobs that can absorb the young people.
Driving growth in Nigeria: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance
Nigeria has a two-track story, and I think the McKinsey report captures this exceedingly well. The track that is not so familiar is the track of opportunity, the track of performance. The track where this country, over the past decade, has grown at about 7 percent per annum and is set—as the largest economy in Africa now with an even larger base—to continue to grow at better than 6 percent.
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About the authors
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the Finance Minister of Nigeria. This interview was conducted by Acha Leke, a Director in McKinsey’s Johannesburg office.
Source: The growth opportunity in Africa | McKinsey & Company
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