Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
The old image of an Africa doomed to get ever poorer has certainly lost credence over the past decade even if it is a view still held by some.
Well, according to a new study, Africans are getting wealthier more quickly than previously believed and the poorest continent’s riches are also spreading beyond the narrow confines of its elite.
“Africa is reducing poverty, and doing it much faster than we thought,” the study by U.S.-based economists Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Maxim Pinkovskiy said.
“The growth from the period 1995-2006, far from benefiting only the elites, has been sufficiently widely spread that both total African inequality and African within-country inequality actually declined over this period.”
African countries are often being told what they need to do to win more investment and expand their economies, but there is always a question as to whether making the changes will really deliver the rewards.
The lesson from top reformer Rwanda seems to support the argument that it is worthwhile.
All too often the Year of This or the Year of That fails to live up to the expectations of whatever we’re supposed to be highlighting or celebrating.
There is no doubt that 2010 is going to be a big year for Africa.
The question is whether in a year’s time we’ll be looking back and saying it was big in the right ways.
This week has seen a rush of key policymakers and business executives from Africa flocking to London. Apart from Sierra Leone, oil and gas executives have been discussing the outlook for Equatorial Guinea, a small central African state rich in oil.
Equatorial Guinea made a relatively rare foray into the global news earlier this month for a presidential pardon of former British army officer Simon Mann, who was serving a 34-year prison sentence in the country for his role in a failed coup d'etat in 2004.
Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa grower, kicked off the 2009/10 season on bleak note on Thursday, with the head of the body overseeing the industry warning that even the most optimistic forecasts predicted a fall in production.
“Our plantations have suffered from the crisis,” said Gilbert Ano, echoing concerns about the West African country’s cocoa trees becoming too old, not being looked after properly by under-supported farmers and producing less cocoa as a result.
But many wonder if they can trust the assurances after the country’s national grid came to a near standstill last year, forcing mines and smelters to shut and costing the biggest economy in Africa billions of dollars.
U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 10 day trip to Africa ends this week with many commentators viewing it at least partly as being aimed at offsetting China’s growing economic clout on the African continent.
In public, Clinton has delivered Washington’s traditional messages on the importance of fair elections and of fighting corruption and human rights abuses.
But the fact that top oil producers Angola and Nigeria are both on the tour has made clear the importance of the visit from the perspective of ensuring access to resources – an area of huge importance to China too.
from Global Investing:
Direct and indirect foreign investors fled from Africa as the credit crisis sparked a flight to safety, or at least familiarity, but Ayo Salami, manager of the Duet Victoire Africa Index fund believes domestic demand can step in to underpin growth.
The cocaine cartels that used West Africa, and Guinea-Bissau in particular, as a conduit to Europe were long accused of worsening the chaos in one of the region’s poorest and most troubled states by buying off some factions of the security forces and political leaders.