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From The Economist comes news that does not
surprise me and reinforces my view, aired in mydebate with Bill Gates, that pessimism about
Africa is overdone and trade is transforming Africa for the
AFRICA has made a phenomenal leap in
the last decade. Its economy is growing faster than that of any
other continent. Foreign investment is at an all-time high; Senegal
has lower borrowing costs than Ireland. The idea of a black African
billionaire-once outlandish except for kleptocratic dictators-is
commonplace now. At the same time an expanding African middle class
(similar in size to those in India and China) is sucking in
consumer goods. Poverty, famine and disease are still a problem but
less so than in the late 20th century, not least thanks to advances
in combating HIV and malaria.
Africa's mood is more optimistic than at any time since the
independence era of the 1960s. This appears to be a real turning
point for the continent. About a third of its growth is due to the
(probably temporary) rise in commodity prices. Some countries have
been clever enough to use profits to build new infrastructure. The
arrival of China on the scene-as investor and a low-cost
builder-has accelerated this trend. Other Asian economies are
following its lead, from Korea to Turkey.
Despite admitting this, The Economist's anonymous blogger then
gets all sniffy with the authors of a book called Africa's Moment for their "boosterism".