September 7, 2012


Africa's best time is ahead (Berhan Ahmed, 7 September 2012, Online Opinion) 

For the first time in history, African countries have enjoyed a period of strong and sustained growth. The booming African economy has transformed the prospects for ordinary Africans across the continent. According to The Economist, six of the fastest growing economies in the world - Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique and Rwanda - are in Africa. Investment in Africa gives greater returns than in any other developing region of the world. The growth in Africa as a whole from 2000-2010 was a little behind Asia, but India and China account for most of that growth. During the next five years, economic growth in Africa is expected to outpace Asia, and it is expected to lead the world in economic growth for the next twenty years. Africa is not only riding a resources boom, but is also successfully building capacity in manufacturing, especially textiles and clothing, light industry, and some areas of export in agricultural products. The agricultural sector has also grown at a moderate rate and this growth has contributed significantly to a reduction in poverty for many African countries. Over the past ten years, overseas investment in Africa has grown from $9 billion to $67 billion. Australian companies have $20 billion invested in Africa, mostly in the mining sector, which is a substantial share of that total.

The popular perception of Africa has not caught up with that change. Many still see Africa as a giant cripple; a continent of cruel dictators and unstable governments; a continent over which the Four Horsemen of famine, plague, war and death range with unhindered rapacity. [...]

There is no doubt that this present African growth is being driven by China. This is a trickle-down effect that has been going on now for fifty years and is an example of how one economy can lead an entire continent. After the Second World War, high labour prices in the USA combined with technological innovation in Japan made the latter an economic powerhouse. Who could now believe that the term 'Made in Japan' was not so long ago a term for poor-quality, shoddy merchandise? When labour prices had risen in Japan, manufacturing flowed first to Korea, then after the instability of the Mao years to China, and more recently to Thailand. Now China is looking towards Africa. We, whose economy has been driven by China and Japan for sixty years, are now also looking the same way.

Posted by at September 7, 2012 4:40 AM

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