Saturday, October 27, 2012

African Hopes

Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecologi...
Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecological break that defines the sub-Saharan area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The coining BRIC - Brazil, Russia, India, China - did not have A for Africa in it. But Africa is on the march now. That is swell. This is not the Africa of unfair history, or false stereotypes. But Africa still has a lot of political homework to do. There is much cleaning up that remains.

Africa rising
Over the past decade six of the world's ten fastest-growing countries were African. In eight of the past ten years, Africa has grown faster than East Asia, including Japan. Even allowing for the knock-on effect of the northern hemisphere's slowdown, the IMF expects Africa to grow by 6% this year and nearly 6% in 2012, about the same as Asia...... With fertility rates crashing in Asia and Latin America, half of the increase in population over the next 40 years will be in Africa. But the growth also has a lot to do with the manufacturing and service economies that African countries are beginning to develop. ........... Most Africans live on less than two dollars a day. ... Some countries praised for their breakneck economic growth, such as Angola and Equatorial Guinea, are oil-sodden kleptocracies. Some that have begun to get economic development right, such as Rwanda and Ethiopia, have become politically noxious. Congo, now undergoing a shoddy election, still looks barely governable and hideously corrupt. Zimbabwe is a scar on the conscience of the rest of southern Africa. South Africa, which used to be a model for the continent, is tainted with corruption; and within the ruling African National Congress there is talk of nationalising land and mines ..... around 60m Africans have an income of $3,000 a year, and 100m will in 2015. The rate of foreign investment has soared around tenfold in the past decade. ...... China's arrival has improved Africa's infrastructure and boosted its manufacturing sector. Other non-Western countries, from Brazil and Turkey to Malaysia and India, are following its lead. Africa could break into the global market for light manufacturing and services such as call centres. ...... It has more than 600m mobile-phone users—more than America or Europe. ..... Around a tenth of Africa's land mass is covered by mobile-internet services—a higher proportion than in India. ..... productivity is growing by nearly 3% a year, compared with 2.3% in America. ..... Africa still needs deep reform.

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