OPTIMISTS AND PESSIMISTS DE­BATE AFRICA’S GROWTH

The Africa Report - - LETTERS -

Your ar­ti­cle ‘Is Africa’s devel­op­ment an il­lu­sion’ [TAR90 May 2017] pro­vides a suc­cinct sum­mary of the two con­trast­ing as­sess­ments of the state of Africa’s econ­omy by some of the peo­ple who have been in­flu­en­tial in shap­ing its devel­op­ment tra­jec­tory. On the one hand, optimists like Don­ald Kaberuka, for­mer AFDB pres­i­dent, sug­gest that Africa has never had it so good. And on the other are the pessimists who only see mis­ery and a bleak fu­ture. As in most cases, the truth is some­where in the mid­dle. While much of Africa is to­day do­ing bet­ter in terms of macroe­co­nomic growth, the lev­els of poverty and un­em­ploy­ment, investment in in­fra­struc­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, sovereign debt, de­pen­dence on raw ma­te­ri­als, and, cru­cially, the qual­ity of gov­er­nance, all re­main un­ac­cept­able for the vast ma­jor­ity of the or­di­nary peo­ple. More­over, much of Africa’s devel­op­ment path con­tin­ues to be shaped, not by Africans them­selves, but by politi­cians and tech­nocrats in state cap­i­tals in the West. Philo­soph­i­cally, the ques­tion may be which world view is bet­ter for mov­ing Africa for­ward: glass half full or glass half empty? Chuk­wumer­ije Ok­ereke, Co-au­thor of Home­grown Devel­op­ment in Africa

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