Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Globalization Fuels the Africa’s Moment

Globalization has been fueling Africa’s renascence.

From the Economist, (bold emphasis mine)

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.

Yet factors unconnected to resources have been equally or even more important. Africans are taking a greater interest in each other. Regional economic cooperation has improved markedly—borders are easier to cross now, especially in the east. Technology helps too. Africa has 400m mobile phone users—more than America. Such tools boost local economies, especially through mobile banking and the distribution of agricultural information.

As the rest of the world struggles with economic meltdown, Africa is for once enjoying a moment in the sun. Even political violence, long an anti-reformist cancer, is simmering down. Many long-running civil wars have (more or less) ended: Sudan, Congo, Angola. Bad governance is still holding back many countries, but markets are becoming more open thanks to privatisation. Examples of the old Africa (destitute, violent and isolated) are becoming more rare.

The above article echoes on the earlier observations of the McKinsey Quarterly in June of 2010 (bold emphasis mine)


The key reasons behind this growth surge included government action to end armed conflicts, improve macroeconomic conditions, and undertake microeconomic reforms to create a better business climate. To start, several African countries halted their deadly hostilities, creating the political stability necessary to restart economic growth.

Next, Africa’s economies grew healthier as governments reduced the average inflation rate from 22 percent in the 1990s to 8 percent after 2000. They trimmed their foreign debt by one-quarter and shrunk their budget deficits by two-thirds.

Finally, African governments increasingly adopted policies to energize markets. They privatized state-owned enterprises, increased the openness of trade, lowered corporate taxes, strengthened regulatory and legal systems, and provided critical physical and social infrastructure. Nigeria privatized more than 116 enterprises between 1999 and 2006, for example, and Morocco and Egypt struck free-trade agreements with major export partners. Although the policies of many governments have a long way to go, these important first steps enabled a private business sector to emerge.

In short, Africa has greatly reduced dependence on the political distribution of resources (which has reduced wars), has vastly improved property rights, which has enabled free trade and importantly embraced economic freedom.

Basic lessons which Filipinos ought to learn and emulate.


Filipinofreedomfighter said...

Africa's progress was speculated on in this article.

Good to know there's a place that's improving.

benson_te said...

Thanks Kenneth