Black People : Africa’s hopeful economies

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by oldsoul, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The sun shines bright


    The continent’s impressive growth looks likely to continue



    HER $3 billion fortune makes Oprah Winfrey the wealthiest black person in America, a position she has held for years. But she is no longer the richest black person in the world. That honour now goes to Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian cement king. Critics grumble that he is too close to the country’s soiled political class. Nonetheless his $10 billion fortune is money earned, not expropriated. The Dangote Group started as a small trading outfit in 1977. It has become a pan-African conglomerate with interests in sugar and logistics, as well as construction, and it is a real business, not a kleptocratic sham.
    Legitimately self-made African billionaires are harbingers of hope. Though few in number, they are growing more common. They exemplify how far Africa has come and give reason to believe that its recent high growth rates may continue. The politics of the continent’s Mediterranean shore may have dominated headlines this year, but the new boom south of the Sahara will affect more lives.
    From Ghana in the west to Mozambique in the south, Africa’s economies are consistently growing faster than those of almost any other region of the world. At least a dozen have expanded by more than 6% a year for six or more years. Ethiopia will grow by 7.5% this year, without a drop of oil to export. Once a byword for famine, it is now the world’s tenth-largest producer of livestock. Nor is its wealth monopolised by a well-connected clique. Embezzlement is still common but income distribution has improved in the past decade.
    Severe income disparities persist through much of the continent; but a genuine middle class is emerging. According to Standard Bank, which operates throughout Africa, 60m African households have annual incomes greater than $3,000 at market exchange rates. By 2015, that number is expected to reach 100m—almost the same as in India now. These households belong to what might be called the consumer class. In total, 300m Africans earn more than $700 a year. That’s not much, and many of those people could be pushed back into penury by a small change in circumstance. But it can cover a phone and even some school fees. “They are not all middle class by Western standards, but nonetheless represent a vast market,” says Edward George, an economist at Ecobank, another African banking group.
    As for Africans below the poverty line—the majority of the continent’s billion people—disease and hunger are still a big problem. Out of 1,000 children 118 will die before their fifth birthday. Two decades ago the figure was 165. Such progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, a series of poverty-reduction milestones set by the UN, is slow and uneven. But it is not negligible. And the mood among have-nots is better than at any time since the independence era two generations ago. True, Africans have a remarkable capacity for being upbeat. But it is seems that this time they really do have something to smile about.
    Lions and tigers (and bears)
    Since The Economist regrettably labelled Africa “the hopeless continent” a decade ago, a profound change has taken hold. Labour productivity has been rising. It is now growing by, on average, 2.7% a year. Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has increased by 200% since 2000. Inflation dropped from 22% in the 1990s to 8% in the past decade. Foreign debts declined by a quarter, budget deficits by two-thirds. In eight of the past ten years, according to the World Bank, sub-Saharan growth has been faster than East Asia’s (though that does include Japan).
    Even after revising downward its 2012 forecast because of a slowdown in the northern hemisphere, the IMF still expects sub-Saharan Africa’s economies to expand by 5.75% next year. Several big countries are likely to hit growth rates of 10%. The World Bank—not known for boosterism—said in a report this year that “Africa could be on the brink of an economic take-off, much like China was 30 years ago and India 20 years ago,” though its officials think major poverty reduction will require higher growth than today’s—a long-term average of 7% or more.
    There is another point of comparison with Asia: demography. Africa’s population is set to double, from 1 billion to 2 billion, over the next 40 years. As Africa’s population grows in size, it will also alter in shape. The median age is now 20, compared with 30 in Asia and 40 in Europe. With fertility rates dropping, that median will rise as today’s mass of young people moves into its most productive years. The ratio of people of working age to those younger and older—the dependency ratio—will improve. This “demographic dividend” was crucial to the growth of East Asian economies a generation ago. It offers a huge opportunity to Africa today.

    More jaw-jaw, less war-war
    What’s more, many foreign participants in the African commodity trade have become less short-termist. They are likely to stick around after they finish mining; Chinese workers, of whom there are tens of thousands in Africa, have shown a propensity to morph into local entrepreneurs. A Cantonese construction company in Angola recently set up its own manufacturing arm to produce equipment that is difficult to import. Few Western competitors would do the same (though many of their colonial forebears did).
    Commodity growth may be more assured than it used to be. But two big drivers of Africa’s growth would still be there even if the continent held not a barrel of oil nor an ounce of gold. One is the application of technology. Mobile phones have penetrated deep into the bush. More than 600m Africans have one; perhaps 10% of those have access to mobile-internet services. The phones make boons like savings accounts and information on crop prices ever more available.
    Technology is also aiding health care. The World Bank says malaria takes $12 billion out of Africa’s GDP every year. But thanks to more and better bed nets, death rates have fallen by 20%. Foreign investors in countries with high HIV-infection rates complain about expensively trained workers dying in their 30s and 40s, but the incidence of new infection is dropping in much of the continent, and many more people are receiving effective treatment...

    Africa’s growth is now underpinned by a permanent shift in expectations. In many African countries people have at last started to see themselves as citizens, with the rights that citizenship brings. Greater political awareness makes it harder for incompetent despots to hold on to power, as north Africa has discovered. Bastions of the continent’s past—destitute, violent and isolated—are becoming exceptions.
    Africa is not the next China. It provides only a tiny fraction of world output—2.5% at purchasing-power parity. It is as yet not even a good bet for retail investors, given the dearth of stockmarkets. Mr Dangote’s $10 billion undeniably makes him a big fish, but the Dangote Group accounts for a quarter of Nigeria’s stockmarket by value: it is a small and rather illiquid pond. Nonetheless, Africa’s boom will continue to benefit Africans, serving the billion as well as the billionaires. That is no small feat.

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  2. wetac0s

    wetac0s Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Glad to hear some good news! Maybe in decade or two, Africa can be the next China.
     
  3. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Once the African nations work in true Pan African unison and nationalize their God given resources, they will reach their goal and have no need for either the World Bank or the IMF

    Both AFRICOM from a cash strapped US and NATO from a cash strapped EU, are looking jealously and hungrily at those figures, like Portugal when it was broke, and envied the great prosperity of the Great African Empires they witnessed enjoying standards of living their citizens did not have
     
  4. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    AFRICOM is often the real power behind nominally African missions. AMISOM, officially the African Union’s so-called peace keeping force in Somalia, is in fact comprised of troops from Uganda and Burundi, U.S. client states that act as mercenaries for Washington, and paid for mainly by the Americans. They are soon to be joined by 500 soldiers from Djibouti. For years, AMISOM was all that saved the puppet regime in Mogadishu from instant annihilation in its tiny enclaves at the hands of the Shabab resistance. Today, the reinforced “African Union” fighters are on the offensive, along with Kenyan and Ethiopian invaders, aimed at smashing the Shabab in a pincer movement. U.S. drones based in Ethiopia and Djibouti bring death from overhead. Thus, a force nominally fielded by the African Union is an active belligerent in a U.S. engineered war that has set the Horn of Africa ablaze – a conflict also sanctioned by IGAD, the regional cooperative body.

    It is only a matter of time before Eritrea, an adversary of Ethiopia and one of the few African nations outside the AFRICOM orbit, is attacked – doubtless by nominally African forces backed by the U.S. and French. Certainly, the thoroughly compromised African Union will be in no position to object.


    No sooner than the last loyalist stronghold fell in Libya, President Obama extended his “humanitarian” interventionist reach deep into central Africa, sending 100 Special Forces troops to Uganda for later assignment to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the new nation of South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, the French neocolonial outpost where the Americans sent Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide after kidnapping him in 2004. Supposedly, the American Green Berets will hunt for the 2,000 or so fighters of the Lord’s Liberation Army – a force the Ugandans themselves could snuff out if they were not busy acting as America’s mercenaries elsewhere on the continent. (Washington’s other loyal hit man in the region, Rwanda, was cited by a United Nations report as bearing responsibility for some the millions slaughtered in Congo.)



    A force nominally fielded by the African Union is an active belligerent in a U.S. engineered war that has set the Horn of Africa ablaze.”

    NATO’s aggression in Libya was made inevitable when Nigeria, South Africa and Gabon dishonored themselves at the United Nations Security Council by voting in favor of the bogus “No Fly Zone.” The momentum of the Euro-American offensive flows southward, and will soon set much of the continent afire. The Horn of Africa is already a carnal house of flame and famine, engineered by the Americans but fully joined by Africans and their regional institutions. In the west, ECOWAS legitimizes imperial policies, while in the Sahel, Africans scramble to identify targets for the Americans. Each year, most of the continent’s militaries gather round the Americans to learn how to command and control their own troops, thus making their armies useless to resist the real enemy: the U.S. and NATO.
    http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27992
     
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