Professional services for Africa’s sustainable development.

When it comes to efficient functioning of modern economies, professional services are an integral part of the process. Professional services have played a critical role in sub-Saharan Africa’s development over the years through enabling transparency and accountability. These services include but are not limited to accounting, IT services, tax advice and management consultancy services. If Africa is to enjoy sustainable growth and development in the long term, access to quality professional services is paramount.

Professional services contribute both directly and indirectly towards growth and development and also lead to spillover of knowledge into other industries within the economy. Sustainable development is hinged on the ability of policymakers to come up with policies and strategies that will ensure long-term accountability and proper use of a country’s resources (both internal resources and resources from beyond its borders). Checks and balances need to be in place to counter any form of malice or mismanagement.

Lack of adequate professional service providers and skill mismatch is a major impediment to an economy’s progress. Regional integration and the free movement of labor across Africa’s borders will be a major boost to igniting the spark required to jumpstart a somewhat sluggish growth trend.

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Development in Africa and the advancement of professional services have over the years been hampered due to restrictive migration and trade policies. Inadequate regulation and regulatory heterogeneity continue to impede the development of professional services. Policy action is required in areas such trade and labor mobility both at national and international levels to improve the prevailing situation.

Apart from removing trade barriers and supporting free movement of labor, governments need to reduce the cost of and improve the quality of education. Regulatory heterogeneity can be reduced through regulatory cooperation and mutual recognition of qualifications across regions. Professional training can also be enhanced through regional educational centers and quality improved through sharing of resources.

An inefficient professional services market has seen Africa fall prey to a shortage of these essential services while at the same time suffer from jobless professionals despite a scarcity of their expertise. Professional services are associated with higher labour productivity. Labour productivity is the amount of goods and services a worker produces within a given period of time. Improved labour productivity has spillover effect. Foreign direct investments(FDIs) are positively correlated to labour productivity. FDIs improve the local economy through the transfer of technology and human capital. Both the private and public sector benefit from FDIs.

Africa needs to come up with appropriate policy reforms in the professional services sector and also support regional integration since this will go a long way in ensuring that the full potential of professional services to bolster economic growth and development is efficiently and effectively harnessed.

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