On Wednesday, the United Nations released a new report focusing on the economic growth potential of Africa, according to the U.N. News Service.
The 168-page report, jointly credited to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU), shows that unlike some other regions, Africa rebounded from the 2008 crisis quickly, but was slowed by the Arab Spring chaos in North Africa and the ongoing euro crisis starting in 2011.
Here's a closer look at the details and findings of the report.
Growth strong compared to the rest of the world: The "Economic Report on Africa 2012: Unleashing Africa's Potential as a Pole of Global Growth" shows a strong economic growth outlook of 5.1 percent expected in 2012.
By comparison the European Union is expected to grow by only .7 percent in 2012. There was a good global rebound in 2010, but that recovery slowed again in 2011. Globally, growth is anticipated to reach just 2.6 percent for the year.
Unemployment numbers still quite high: The continent is suffering from high unemployment among the continent's youth, who are somewhat weathering those conditions with the informal economy.
North Africa's unemployment as a preliminary estimate for 2011 was at 9.8 percent and sub-Saharan Africa's stood at 7.9 percent. The world's estimate was 6.1 percent.
Food security remains a challenge: With food prices expected to be volatile due to low inventories, African countries are expected to face new challenges, in particularly because many countries are relying on developed economies as part of their export strategy.
Euro's problems spreading beyond Mediterranean Sea: The euro's sovereign debt crisis poses a serious risk to Africa's economic welfare. In 2010, 10.3 percent of Africa's GDP and 36.2 percent of its total exports were accounted for by merchandise exports to the European Union.
Should Europe, as an export destination and source of capital, become less of a dependable trading partner there would be a negative impact on Africa's economy. In addition, remittances and aid could slow, further threatening economic lifelines to national budgets and families in the south.
Protect the environment and grow the economy: The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) issued a press statement calling for "sustainable economic transformation" with less of a reliance on "grow now, clean up later" policies.
According to the agency, "each African country will have to design strategies and policies based on its own sectarian and resource priorities, environmental challenges, initial conditions and domestic capabilities."
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.