Development outcome in third-world nations depend on three major factors which are political, economic and social. These are the challenges that face sub-Saharan Africa.
African nations must carry out processes of massive political and socio-economic transformation as well as effective governance.
The following are the current status of political and socio-economic conditions of the top five African nations based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
South Africa - GDP = $576.1 billion
South Africa, as an emerging economy, has been adversely affected by the turbulence in other rising economic systems globally.
This generated negative investor confidence. Nonetheless, it was relatively successful in enduring everything because of solid fiscal and economic reforms as well as political stability.
The South African government pushes continuously for massive foreign investments particularly from USA and European multinational corporations. One example is the German car company BMW as well as the United Kingdom and Portugal. Political constancy was further strengthened since the espousal of a new constitution nine years ago.
South Africa is expected to maintain its current macro-economic policy structure since the African National Congress Party (ANC) garnered more than 60 percent of the vote during the country’s national polls in May of 2014.
The present government came up with important policies of geographical developments at the national and local levels. This includes development corridors, upgrading in delivery of basic services, and devolution policies. However, implementation is quite sluggish and not equal in all localities.
Egypt - $534.1 billion
The economy of Egypt is relatively volatile. It has been aggravated by the latest political uprising. Political and economic analysts believe it is important for the government to reconnect the country’s economy with international markets to push growth and foster long-standing sustainable recovery.
Aside from political instability, fiscal shortfalls and scarcity of foreign exchange reserves curb spending power of the Egyptian government. This capability is essential in an economic situation where fuel and food products are vital pillars of the economy. The labor market is pathetic. Unemployment is pegged at 13 percent with one-third of the labor force composed of youngsters.
Wages are at a low level while prices of food have increased 50 percent since 2010. Meanwhile, the quality of education is very poor and considered among the lowest worldwide. A big part of the population has limited access to sufficient housing and healthcare services.
To make matters worse, taxes have become backward while subsidies for the people are very inefficient. This condition is seen as the failure of previous governments to resolve social injustice in Egypt. More than a year ago, Egypt was a subject of review by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for the first time in more than one decade.
Nigeria - $521.8 billion
Muhammadu Buhari is the new President of Nigeria. He replaced Goodluck Jonathan during the 2015 national elections. While the political scenario was quite unstable especially before the election, economic growth was steady with an average seven percent rise in GDP.
These were caused by positive performance of the agricultural sector; infrastructure; banking reforms; sound fiscal policies; more investments; and, revival of the declining railway system.
However, social welfare concerns have not been given priority considering that Nigeria is still classified as an impoverished nation. Education as well as health services have not been subsidized adequately despite increased budgets.
In fact, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommended that total annual budget for education should be 26 percent back in 1955.
In 2012, The Nigerian Government only allocated eight percent to education compared to the 26 of South Africa, 31 of Ghana, 23 of Uganda, 23 of Kenya, and 30 of Cote d’Ivoire. This is the same for the health sector which got a meager six percent during the same year. Aside from these issues, Nigeria is currently beset by corruption, irregular payment of wages and low prices of crude oil.
Algeria - $272.5 billion
Algeria still looks like a nation in transition since achieving its independence from France several decades ago. It is the largest country in the African continent.
Abdelaziz Bouteflika was re-elected president during the national elections of 2014.
The political tension heightened before the polls but simmered down eventually. Even then, the country’s economy is deteriorating with unemployment roughly 30 percent. Domestic restlessness heightened.
The nation needs more meaningful political and socio-economic changes which many believe the present government failed to implement.
Nonetheless, the economy still grew by four percent last year as the crude oil and natural gas industry recovered. The government has taken measures to balance the decrease in world crude prices with funding of local public investments coming from commercial banks.
Morocco - $168.9 billion
The political landscape of Morocco has been steady during the past decades and evolved well through the Arab Spring. The government conducted a program of comprehensive reforms with a new Constitution in 2011. This laid down the foundation for a more open and autonomous society and amplified decentralization.
The current coalition government continues to undertake constitutional reforms. It is also espousing bold steps to trim down the fiscal deficit.
Morocco came up with a diverse economic performance last year. Economic progress slowed down from 4.4 percent (2013) to around 2.6 percent in 2014 due to the drop in agricultural output.
Unemployment aggravated to nearly 10 percent while inflation was at its lowest rate with 0.4 percent because of prudent monetary policy and decline in prices of international commodities.
All in all, the performances of these nations indicate a better effort by each government to accelerate economic development and political maturity.