African Successes

by on December 31, 2009 at 1:09 pm in Books, Economics | Permalink

From Shanta Devajaran at the World Bank’s blog Africa Can…End Poverty, a post on African Successes.

In recent years, a broad swath of African countries has begun to show a remarkable dynamism. From Mozambique’s impressive growth rate (averaging 8% p.a. for more than a decade) to Kenya’s emergence as a major global supplier of cut flowers, from M-pesa’s mobile phone-based cash transfers to KickStart’s low-cost irrigation technology for small-holder farmers, and from Rwanda’s gorilla tourism to Lagos City’s Bus Rapid Transit system, Africa is seeing a dramatic transformation. This favorable trend is spurred by, among other things, stronger leadership, better governance, an improving business climate, innovation, market-based solutions, a more involved citizenry, and an increasing reliance on home-grown solutions. More and more, Africans are driving African development.

A very interesting list of examples and case studies follows.  My colleague at the Independent Institute, Alvaro Vargas Llosa has also edited a recent book on this theme titled, Lessons from the Poor.

Question: How does focusing on successes change our view of development?

Hat tip J-J Rosa.

Nick December 31, 2009 at 1:35 pm

If you have seen any of Hans Rosling’s lectures (TED has several good ones), he makes similar points. The “third world” countries are making incredible strides.

Video for reference: http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html

Dan * December 31, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Are you implying that it means larger governments which is necessarily bad? Outside that cynical view, I don’t see what it could mean other than stronger leadership…which as far as I can tell is a good thing… Your post is either vastly confusing or just sad. I’m not sure which.

Millian December 31, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Just to add, I think 1. is usually true, and so the converse of 2. and 3. are usually true. For instance, post-2000 compulsory land reform in Zimbabwe has been disastrous because it is destroying capital, physical and human, at a rapid rate. If we tend to focus on how Zimbabwean land reform failed, then our development discourse has a bias against a high-risk policy that can have a disastrous outcome (famine, pestilence, hyperinflation). That is a good thing.

sleepy_commentator January 1, 2010 at 12:18 am

@dearieme: Leadership that’s better than it used to be. Why, what’s ‘dear’ a euphemism for?

mulp January 1, 2010 at 2:23 am

Just to add, I think 1. is usually true, and so the converse of 2. and 3. are usually true. For instance, post-2000 compulsory land reform in Zimbabwe has been disastrous because it is destroying capital, physical and human, at a rapid rate.

The white man land reform in the Americans had disastrous consequences as well. Only in North America did the land reform work well for the reformers, thanks to strong leadership by many, but naming a few, Jefferson, Madison, and certainly the strongest of them all, Andrew Jackson who was determined to see land reform work by killing or otherwise removing all the landowners and then reallocating the land to his will organzed supporters who were backed by a strong government with well ordered military to run off or kill the land owners.

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capitalistimperialistpig January 1, 2010 at 12:39 pm

It’s good that Africa is showing flickers of life, but the continent still labors under the crushing burden of rapid population growth. Rwanda, Kenya, and Mozambique are growing rapidly, but Dr. Malthus is eating up most or all of the profits.

Only Mauritius, South Africa, and Botswana have achieved the demographic transition that permits sustained per capita gdp growth.

pmp January 1, 2010 at 9:05 pm

I like the rule that supposedly exists at these GMU lunches (Caplan, Cowen, Kling, Tabarrok): Either make a proposition you can bet on or we move to the next conversation.

Can you specify some level of growth (GDP% in PPP) for some particular jurisdiction over a given period of time that you’re willing to bet on?

Put up or shut up.

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But studying it probably isn’t much helpful for currently living Africans in their contemporary struggle against poverty.

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Successful growth experiences—pace and quality of economic growth

-Achieving shared growth in post-stabilization Mozambique
-Successful reformer: Tanzania’s transformation to an open market economy
-Uganda: A decade of strong growth, but limited economic transformation
-After growing at a steady pace for over a decade, Burkina Faso is beginning to diversify its highly cotton-dependent economy
-Mauritius: Adapting to a changing world
-Botswana: Sustained economic progress through prudent macroeconomic management, institutional development, and good governance

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被リンクサービス December 12, 2010 at 5:10 am

If you have seen any of Hans Rosling’s lectures (TED has several good ones), he makes similar points. The “third world” countries are making incredible strides.

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While Africa may be seeing a rapid transformation, corruption is the major problem. Too much wealth in a few elite.

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