Deliver Your News to the World

Sub-Saharan Nations Make the Most Significant Strides in Improving Living Standards in Africa

The Boston Consulting Group’s Sustainable Economic Development Assessment Finds That Sub-Saharan African Countries Are Among the Leaders in Delivering Gains in Well-Being for Their Citizens


BOSTON - As several developed economies begin to see a slowdown in improvements to their living standards, many Sub-Saharan African countries are now achieving notable gains in well-being, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group, in partnership with the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative. The report, titled The New Prosperity: Strategies for Improving Well-Being in Sub-Saharan Africa, is being released today.

The report used BCG’s Sustainable Economic Development Assessment (SEDA) methodology to examine improvements in living standards in Africa and to understand the factors contributing to them. SEDA was created to assess the relationship between national wealth and living standards based on a comprehensive analysis of socioeconomic factors, including income, education, health, and governance.

The report reveals that:

  • Eight of the top 30 countries around the world that have made the greatest improvements in well-being over the past five years are in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The region’s best performers have married stable economic environments with good governance.
  • The biggest drivers of improved well-being have been gains in health and economic stability.
  • Coastal countries have the highest current levels of well-being in Sub-Saharan Africa, but landlocked countries are making greater progress.

“Although Sub-Saharan African countries have relatively low levels of well-being, they are among the nations posting the greatest gains,” says Douglas Beal, a BCG partner and coauthor of the report.

Africa’s Innovators

The report identifies Ethiopia, Ghana, and Angola as pioneers leading the way in creating improvements in well-being for their people.

  • In Ethiopia, an innovative health-care program has produced impressive improvements in public health, including a 23 percent reduction in the mortality rate of children under age five.
  • In Ghana, a series of reforms and a focused effort to develop the information technology sector has transformed the nation into a regional investment center.
  • And in Angola, stabilization of the country after decades of war, development of the oil sector, and significant investments in infrastructure have led to solid advances in well-being.

“Significant challenges persist in Africa. Of the 30 nations that posted the lowest well-being scores in SEDA’s database, 26 are from Sub-Saharan Africa. But we could not ignore the significance of improvements in the well-being scores of so many Sub-Saharan African nations. We took this as a signal that meaningful innovation is occurring across the continent,” says BCG’s Tenbite Ermias, a coauthor of the report.

Improved Governance Drives Progress

The strides that Sub-Saharan African countries are making underscore the importance of effective governance.

Specifically, the nations that made significant progress demonstrated a focus on four key elements: strong political commitment, a disciplined prioritization of objectives, well-crafted policies that reflect local realities, and effective systems for delivering change.

“One of the most striking findings in this analysis was that effective governance---even more than rising income—was the single largest differentiator between the Sub-Saharan African countries that improved their overall well-being scores the most and those that improved the least,” says Andy Ratcliffe of AGI, a coauthor of the report.

A copy of the report can be downloaded at

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or

About the Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative

The Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative currently works in Guinea, Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan, with new countries on the horizon. It works at two levels: At the political leadership level, Tony Blair draws on his ten years as Prime Minister to offer leaders the kind of advice on reform that only someone who has stood in a leader’s shoes can give. At the same time, its teams, based permanently in each country, work shoulder-to-shoulder with counterparts to put in place the “nuts and bolts” needed to help governments implement their policy reforms.

AGI’s practical support helps leaders to bridge the gap between their vision for a better future and their government’s ability to achieve it. This is done by strengthening the government’s capacity to deliver programs that will change ordinary people’s lives for the better, from public services and rural development to infrastructure and job creation.

About features the latest thinking from BCG experts as well as from CEOs, academics, and other leaders. It covers issues at the top of senior management’s agenda. It also provides unprecedented access to BCG’s extensive archive of thought leadership stretching back 50 years to the days of Bruce Henderson, the firm’s founder and one of the architects of modern management consulting. All of our content—including videos, podcasts, commentaries, and reports—can be accessed by PC, mobile, iPad, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

About The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world’s leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 78 offices in 43 countries.


This news content was configured by WebWire editorial staff. Linking is permitted.

News Release Distribution and Press Release Distribution Services Provided by WebWire.