Sunday, April 23, 2006
Good News in Africa
There is good news in Africa today as a report shows good economic growth through the countries making up Sub-Saharan Africa.
Growth in the 48-country region hit 4.8% in 2004, exceeding the global growth rate of 4.1% that year, the last year covered in the institution’s latest “World Development Indicators” report.
The trend is expected to continue this year as many African countries pursue sound economic policies, develop a good investment climate, battle corruption and use aid more effectively, according to the bank.
Economic growth often brings educational and health benefits. If there is an attendant shift toward stable, freer governments, then we could be entering a period where Africans begin to capitalize on abundant national resources. Of course, that’s a big “if”, given the tumultuous nature of politics and corruption in Africa. It also fails to note just how far down the economic ladder most of Africa exists; there is much ground to make up before they can be considered in the same breath as the developing nations of Central and South America, for example.
And while it does stand as good news, the mitigating factor is not only that successes seem so fleeting through much of the continent, but also that the successes exist alongside the monumental failures like Zimbabwe. Stability is sometimes hard to maintain when you live next door to nations that bleed refugees and invite civil war and economic unrest. As Zimbabwe continues to decline, what will the effect ultimately be on Mozambique and South Africa, for instance?
Still, good news is good news and these steps toward progress must be applauded. What I continue to hope for is that we see a sort of post-post-colonial period sweep through Africa. A period where the nations that threw off Europe’s rule finally grow weary of making excuses for their homegrown tyrants.