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The Africa Prosperity Report is based on the Legatum Prosperity Index, which has been developed as a practical tool to help identify what specific action needs to be taken to contribute to strengthening the pathways from poverty to prosperity globally.

The Index consists of 12 pillars of prosperity, built upon 65 actionable policy areas (elements), and is underpinned by 294 indicators. The Index has been designed to benefit a wide range of users, including political leaders, policymakers, investors, business leaders, philanthropists, journalists and researchers.

• Political leaders can use it to help shape priorities for a policy agenda;
• Policymakers can use it to determine specific areas that require action to help increase prosperity;
• Investors can use it to inform capital allocation;
• Business leaders can use it to identify and communicate the changes they need to improve the business climate and the productive capacity of nations;
• Philanthropists can use it to identify the areas where they can have the greatest impact beyond the well-trodden paths;
• Journalists can use it to hold governments to account;
• Researchers can use it to complement other datasets to analyse the underlying patterns behind development, and inform the broader policy, business, and philanthropic community.

What has caused African prosperity to improve at a slower rate than other developing continents, and where might African policymakers look for solutions, such that Africa could enjoy a greater rate of improvement in prosperity?

There is also a broader pattern across the continent that demonstrates how the quality of institutions is critical to the development of prosperity. The challenge of transformation that Africa faces is aboutchange – in some ways radical change. However, the question as to whether the broader institutions in a country will permit that change is often an open one. Are markets truly contestable? Can political power be transferred? Can government operate effectively? Does the social contract facilitate change? Identifying the constraints to change will be critical to determining the best path forward. What steps can leaders and governments resolve to take themselves to establish improved governance, and to what extent is there a case for more targeted development assistance, focussed on building strong institutions?