Excellent African Development Perspective

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2006 at 8:25 pm

The Fate of Africa

I guess I was late to the game on this article, it was posted four months ago, but I really agreed with author Martin Meredith’s assessment of African development.

There is such disillusionment with African Development that people start blaming the current status quo or lumping in generalities. In reality, the situation in Africa has come about for many nuanced reasons, and every country has their own distinct issues.

With that in mind, I agree with Meredith’s assertion that Africa would be far worse off without Western Aid. Problematic development schemes are not the compounding cause of African poverty. What matters the most is institution quality – I challenge any social scientist or researcher to dispute that point.

I should also make a distinction between a quality institution and a functioning one. Communist China provides us with a unique example of an authoritarian state that has been able to dramtically raise living standards for hundreds of millions of it’s people. But look hard at the available statistical and anecdotal evidence, and you will see a great difference in living standards for urban versus rural areas.

I think that highlights one of the larger points about development that people overlook – it takes TIME. What we’re seeing in India and China, with a rapidly developing middle and upper class and a new generation of well-educated professionals, has taken YEARS.


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