Africa launch of the 2023-2024 Human Development Report

April 16, 2024

Africa Regional Launch | 2023-2024 Human Development Report

Breaking the gridlock

Reimagining cooperation in a polarized world

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Event Details

22 April 2024

5.30 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. GMT+3

Hybrid: United Nations Conference Centre | Online | Register:

The Africa regional launch of the 2023/24 Human Development Report (HDR) titled 'Breaking the Gridlock: Reimagining cooperation in a polarized world' is taking place on 22 April 2024, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the sidelines of the 10th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development. This follows the global launch of the report, on 13 March, 2024 and subsequent country-level launch events.

The Human Development Report 2024 provides valuable insights and recommendations to guide Africa's efforts in navigating the challenges and opportunities of an uncertain world and advance sustainable human development for all. By focusing on 5 key recommendations and priorities, Africa can leverage its strengths and potential to ‘break the gridlock’ of polarization and build a more resilient, prosperous and cooperative future.

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Recommendations for Africa:

    Africa has immense potential to harness the power of regional collaboration to tackle shared challenges and promote sustainable development. The successful pandemic response coordinated by the Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), which secured vaccines for over 70% of the population in 20 countries, demonstrates the value of regional health cooperation. Similarly, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could boost intra-African trade, augment the incomes of nearly 68 million people who live on less than $5.50 a day and lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035. Enhancing regional integration through initiatives like the AfCFTA, the Pan-African Agency for the Great Green Wall, and the African Union's conflict prevention and mediation efforts can help Africa build resilience and shared prosperity. 

    Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change, with North Africa projected to experience temperature increases 2-3 times the global mean and the Sahel facing sharp increases in mortality rates due to higher temperatures. Scaling up climate finance and technology transfer through multilateral funds and South-South cooperation is crucial to support Africa's adaptation and low-carbon development efforts. For example, the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, a partnership between the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation, aims to mobilize $25 billion to scale up climate adaptation initiatives across the continent. 

    With a median age of 19.7 years, Africa is the world's youngest continent. By 2050, Africa's working-age population is projected to increase by 450 million people, presenting a significant opportunity for economic growth and innovation. However, realizing this demographic dividend requires investing in education, skills development, and job creation, particularly for women and youth. The AfCFTA could generate substantial opportunities for women's economic empowerment, as women are overrepresented in the informal cross-border trade sector. Supporting women-owned businesses to access new markets and expand their operations can help drive inclusive growth. 

    Africa has been grappling with a 'democratic recession,' with declines in liberal democracy in 70% of countries between 2010-2020 and a recent spate of coups and attempted coups. Strengthening democratic governance, fighting corruption, and promoting inclusive institutions are critical to build trust and legitimacy. Afrobarometer surveys show that only 31% of Africans believe their government is doing well in fighting corruption and 37% have little or no trust in the African Union. Investing in anti-corruption efforts, civic education, and youth empowerment can help nurture a new generation of leaders committed to accountability and pan-African cooperation. 

    Africa is experiencing a rapid digital transformation, with internet penetration reaching 43% in 2021 and mobile money transactions exceeding $490 billion in 2020. Harnessing digital technologies can help Africa leapfrog development challenges, expand access to services, and create new economic opportunities. For example, the AfCFTA E-Commerce Protocol aims to harmonize digital trade rules and facilitate cross-border e-commerce. Investing in digital infrastructure, skills, and entrepreneurship can help Africa build a more inclusive and integrated digital economy. 

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    About the Human Development Report Office

    The mission of the Human Development Report Office (HDRO) is to advance human development. The goal is to contribute towards the expansion of opportunities, choice, and freedom. The office works towards this goal by promoting innovative new ideas, advocating practical policy changes, and constructively challenging policies and approaches that constrain human development. The office works with others to achieve change through writing and research, data analysis and presentation, support to national and regional analysis and outreach and advocacy work.