The AfDB North Africa 2014 report focuses on inclusive growth, providing an overview of the AfDB's activities in the region, along with a summary of the socio-economic situation in each of the five countries covered.
The report includes a brand new indicator, which measures the extent to which growth may be considered inclusive. The data reveal an important observation: in 2008-2010 (i.e. immediately before the "Arab Spring"), the five countries in the
Despite improvements in the North African economies, both in real terms and in comparison with other developing nations, the report reveals deepening inequalities between social groups in two key areas: the labour market and regional variations. Furthermore, these very same inequalities are recognised as the main obstacles to inclusive growth. Genuinely inclusive growth would help to deliver fairer distribution of wealth between age groups, social classes and regions in these countries.
The report also reveals the existence of a two-tier labour market in the region, with a marked rift between the formal and informal sectors. Less than 50% of the working-age population is employed in the formal labour market, and the unemployment rate across the region stands at around 10% considerably higher than the global average. Furthermore, people in the 15-24 age bracket are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults aged 25 and over. The unemployment rate is especially high among young, educated people and women. Indeed, women are twice as likely to be unemployed as men. The situation among young women (aged 15 to 24) is even worse, with people in this category three times more vulnerable to unemployment than women aged over 24.
In many cases, long-term unemployment leads to permanent withdrawal from the labour market. This, in turn, results in chronic poverty, marginalisation and, as demonstrated by the Arab Spring, social unrest.
A high proportion of North African workers are in unstable employment in the so-called "informal" sector, with no contract or social protection. Only 30% of workers in
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