Pillars of development
The report examines the phenomenon of inequality and its pernicious influence on development in some detail. It says that while countries across Africa are becoming richer, “whole sections of society are being left behind”.
Despite a decade of buoyant growth, almost half of Africans still live on less than $1.25 a day. “The current pattern of trickle down growth is leaving too many people in poverty, too many children hungry and too many young people without jobs.” Smallholder agriculture, which employs the bulk of Africa’s population, “has not been part of the growth surge, leaving rural populations trapped in poverty and vulnerability”.
The widening income gaps have already brought down entrenched regimes in North Africa and led to mass protests such as the Occupy movement even in developed countries. The consequences in Africa can be grave.
“The deep, persistent and enduring inequalities in evidence across Africa weaken the bonds of trust and solidarity that hold societies together. They weaken confidence in governments and institutions. And they leave many Africans feeling that their societies are fundamentally unjust and their governments unresponsive.”
These feelings can, and have, led to explosions of violent disorder and set off chain reactions that engulf whole societies in bloody and brutal downward spirals. We have seen enough of these in Africa to take the warnings lightly.