Commission on Growth and Development

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The Growth Commission’s reports identify the ingredients that, if used in the right country-specific recipe, can deliver growth and help lift populations out of poverty. The Commission, consisting of 19 experienced leaders and 2 Nobel prize-winning economists, has released several commission reports, thematic volumes, and background working papers. The spring 2010 volume is the final book from the Commission. The Commission is succeeded by The Growth Dialogue.

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Now showing 1 - 8 of 8
  • Publication
    Africa's Growth Turnaround: From Fewer Mistakes to Sustained Growth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Page, John
    After stagnating for much of its postcolonial history, economic performance in Sub?Saharan Africa has markedly improved. Since 1995, average economic growth has been close to 5 percent per year. Has Africa finally turned the corner? This paper analyzes growth accelerations and decelerations-that is, country level deviations from long?run trend growth. Seen from this perspective, Africa's record of slow and volatile growth reflects a pattern of offsetting accelerations and declines, and much of the improvement in economic performance in Africa post 1995 turns out to be due to a substantial reduction in the frequency and severity of growth decelerations. The fall in economic declines since 1995 is largely due to better macroeconomic policies, but changes in such 'growth determinants' as investment, export diversification, and productivity have not accompanied the growth boom. Lack of change in these variables and the significant role played by natural resources in sparking growth accelerations suggest that Africa's growth recovery was fragile, even before the recent global economic crisis. The paper concludes by setting out four elements of a strategy that can help move Africa from fewer mistakes to sustained growth: managing natural resources better, pushing nontraditional exports, building the African private sector, and creating new skills.
  • Publication
    Africa's Growth Turnaround: From Fewer Mistakes to Sustained Growth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009) Page, John
    After stagnating for much of its postcolonial history, economic performance in Sub?Saharan Africa has markedly improved. Since 1995, average economic growth has been close to 5 percent per year. Has Africa finally turned the corner? This paper analyzes growth accelerations and decelerations-that is, country level deviations from long?run trend growth. Seen from this perspective, Africa's record of slow and volatile growth reflects a pattern of offsetting accelerations and declines, and much of the improvement in economic performance in Africa post 1995 turns out to be due to a substantial reduction in the frequency and severity of growth decelerations. The fall in economic declines since 1995 is largely due to better macroeconomic policies, but changes in such 'growth determinants' as investment, export diversification, and productivity have not accompanied the growth boom. Lack of change in these variables and the significant role played by natural resources in sparking growth accelerations suggest that Africa's growth recovery was fragile, even before the recent global economic crisis. The paper concludes by setting out four elements of a strategy that can help move Africa from fewer mistakes to sustained growth: managing natural resources better, pushing nontraditional exports, building the African private sector, and creating new skills.
  • Publication
    Leadership, Policy Making, and Economic Growth in African Countries: The Case of Nigeria
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Iyoha, Milton A.
    Nigeria's long-run growth performance has been extremely poor. Between 1960 and 2000, real income per capita grew at only 0.43 percent per year. The situation improved between 2001 and 2006 when real per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 4.2 percent. This paper demonstrates that the superior growth performance during 2001-06 is largely attributable to the impact of better leadership and economic policy making. The improved performance of the economy after 2003 arose from implementing a comprehensive economic reform program focusing on four main areas: macroeconomic reform; structural reform; governance and institutional reform; and public sector reform. The reforms, backstopped by improved oil revenue management, monetary policy implementation, and debt management, improved overall macroeconomic policy making. This resulted in real GDP growth averaging 7.1 percent per year between 2003 and 2006, an inflation rate of 10 percent in 2006, foreign exchange reserves of US$45 billion in 2006, and total external debt of only US$5 billion in 2006. Clearly, between 1960 and 2000, Nigeria's policy choices were poor, and the reforms that sought to correct them were plagued by inconsistencies, policy reversals, and lack of coherence. In contrast, due to good leadership, the reforms adopted in 2003 were consistent and have been implemented in a coherent manner.
  • Publication
    Leadership, Policy Making, Quality of Economic Policies, and Their Inclusiveness: The Case of Rwanda
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Thomas, Rusuhuzwa Kigabo
    This paper analyzes the role of the leadership in the economic growth in Rwanda, a country that was seriously affected by civil war and the 1994 genocide. It appears that the will and the clear vision of the leadership in Rwanda were one of the central pillars of the very good economic and social performances in Rwanda. This is particularly important because the country has almost no natural resources and the economy and its fundamentals were completely destroyed by the 1994 genocide. This paper thus helps enrich the various economic growth models by stressing the importance of the quality of leadership.
  • Publication
    Policy Change and Economic Growth: A Case Study of South Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Faulkner, David; Loewald, Christopher
    South Africa's growth experience provides an example of how contrasting growth trends long-term decline followed by improved growth pivot around political change, in this case a transition to democracy. In the decade prior to 1994, South Africa experienced the worst period of economic growth since the end of the Second World War, with growth variable and declining. The proximate causes of slowing growth were trade and financial sanctions in opposition to the Apartheid government, political instability and macroeconomic policy decisions that resulted in higher inflation, increased uncertainty, and declining investment. Democracy has proved critical for, among other factors, creating the possibility of a peaceful and more stable future and reversing investor sentiment at a basic level. Political and economic leadership have been essential for improving the country's growth performance because of the effect on policy formulation, institutional development, regulatory design, and economic vision. Prudent fiscal policy and sound macroeconomic management have been critical factors in creating an environment conducive to growth by stabilizing economic conditions, lowering the user cost of capital, and putting downward pressure on the real exchange rate. This case study provides some insight into a more general perspective on political and economic transition and some of the key macro- and microeconomic policy shifts that need to occur to realize a more rapid and sustained growth path.
  • Publication
    Policy and Institutional Dynamics of Sustained Development in Botswana
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Maipose, Gervase S.
    Botswana represents one of the few development success stories in Sub-Saharan Africa. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth averaged almost 9 percent between 1960 and 2005, far above the Sub-Saharan Africa average. Real GDP per capita grew even faster, averaging more than 10 percent a year -- the most rapid economic growth of any country in the world. The crucial question is: Why has Botswana grown the way it has done, and what lessons does it offer? This evidence-based story is an account of policy and institutional dynamics of sustained growth and development in Botswana -- illuminating the role of leadership. It shows how a secure political elite has pursued growth-promoting policies and developed, modified, and maintained viable inherited traditional and modern institutions of political, economic, and legal restraint. These institutions have remained robust in the face of initial large aid inflows and spectacular mineral rents, producing a growth pattern that has been both rapid and cautious. The nature of the Botswana developmental state is illustrated by the way in which the state mobilized development resources-especially savings, investment, and human resources, widely known as the primary drivers of economic growth, and prudently managed the economy without becoming excessively involved in the nuts. It demonstrates that through intentional policy choices and countercyclical instruments, countries can shift from aid-dependent to trade-led natural resource development (though probably with narrow-based growth), to a broader development strategy as long as the state is capable and operates within effective institutional design. Botswana's story is sterling example of how the critical issue in development is not so much access to resources but how resources are managed.
  • Publication
    Growth Strategies for Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Collier, Paul
    Over the past four decades Africa has diverged from other developing regions and is now the poorest region in the world. This paper offers an explanation of Africa's slow growth in terms of its distinctive economic and human geography: its high dependence upon natural resource exports, the many landlocked countries, and the high ethnic diversity of the typical state. It discusses how key economic policy choices, especially trade and fiscal policy, and assistance from the international community, need to tailored specifically to these distinctive circumstances. Part one of this paper sets out an explanation for why this happened and whether it is likely to recur, using the building blocks of economic geography. Africa is distinctive both in its physical geography and its human geography and these have shaped its opportunities. Part one has three sections. Section two considers the implications of Africa's distinctive physical geography. It accounts for some of Africa's slow growth and suggests how strategies will need to differ radically among Africa's countries. In section three author turn to its distinctive human geography and the political problems that this has created. To a considerable extent these problems recently have been surmounted: Africa's human geography may explain delayed take-off rather than predict persistent stagnation. Finally, in section four, author consider three interactions between physical geography and human geography that generate intractable problems that are likely to require both regional action and international assistance in various forms. Part two uses the analysis of part one to consider policy options. Section five discusses options for African governments. Section six focuses on the supporting actions that can be taken by governments outside Africa and by international agencies. Section seven offers a brief conclusion.
  • Publication
    Growth in Senegal: The 1995-2005 Experience
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008) Ndiaye, Mansour
    Following several years of disappointing economic performance, Senegal has made an important turnaround, with real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth averaging over 5 percent annually during 1995-2005. This paper shows that macroeconomic and structural reforms are key factors explaining this recovery. Drivers of sound economic policy decisions in Senegal have included enhanced democratic processes, political commitment to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), and donor community conditionalities.