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The history of biofuel production in Africa is marked with expensive and damaging failures.The much-hyped jatropha crop saw millions of dollars and vast tracts of land squandered, while the production of palm oil has been widely criticized for association with environmental damage and human rights abuses.

To build a better future, Africa will have to drive its own development agenda.

Africa will miss most of the internationally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the target date of 2030. But it might just reach ‘escape velocity’ enabling it to break out of its extreme poverty orbit by 2045 or 2050.

EY’s third instalment of its Africa Attractiveness programme for 2016 anticipates continued variable economic performance across Africa’s sub-regions. This follows from the sharp downward revisions in overall growth forecasts this year, mainly reflecting challenging conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) three largest economies, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa. Outside of these three economies, a number of bright spots remain, particularly in the East, Francophone and North African regions, where growth rates of 4 percent and above are still being achieved.

Here are five African inventions which may take off in 2017.

Washington, DC — It has been an encouraging year for our partnership with Africa. Alongside our African partners, we have made significant progress advancing democracy, peace, and prosperity throughout the continent, though challenges, of course, remain. Let me share some of the highlights:

Africa is not a country. It is a continent that feels like it has come of age. Despite the very real problems of poverty, corruption and the sense you sometimes get in some quarters, that no-one is held to account, business types hail Africa as the "final frontier". After nearly 12 years reporting this region, for me it feels like a place where one grows up.

In a landmark move, China has announced that it will enforce a total ban on domestic ivory trade within a year. Shops must hand over their licenses to trade ivory by March 2017, China’s State Council says a complete ban will be in place by the end of the year. Under China’s new terms, auctions of previously legally obtained ivory, likely imported in the 1970s, will be permitted only with authorization and under strict supervision. Holders of legally obtained ivory will also need authorization to continue to display it in museums and at exhibitions.

Recently, inhabitants of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, have been gazing forlornly at their smartphones, frustrated by the government’s mobile internet shutdowns.

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The Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 2009 by 35 founding national business chambers to influence government policy and create a better operating environment for business.

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