The concept of emerging countries or economies appeared in the 1980s and gained currency when the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) seemed to be moving into a global leadership role. Though the concept remains ill-defined, “emergence” is frequently applied now to countries that show significant economic and social progress.
With the rejection of the many economic programmes that are often dictated by development agencies (e.g. structural adjustment programmes), and echoing a resolve on the part of Africans to take their fate into their own hands, there is much talk today of the emergence of Africa and of emergence plans being drawn up in many countries. But the question remains open as to what emergence means, what the main drivers of emergence are and how performance can be evaluated, particularly when it comes to comparing the different trajectories of African countries.
The Performances Group consultancy has developed an analysis grid for the process of emergence and produced a model based largely on a typology of the driving factors of emergence (collective ambition, leadership and vision, development of the private sector etc.) and economic and social performance indicators (economic growth, shared prosperity etc.). Its chief executive, Victor Ndiaye, and Ruben B. Djogbenou explain that analysis grid here and the way composite indicators have been established that make it possible to evaluate and compare the relative emergence of African countries. They propose an analytical framework for this process and, on the basis of the indicators selected, offer a league-table of countries detailing their performance levels between 2005 and 2015, which will no doubt spark considerable debate.