Sunday, August 21, 2011
Why Africa is leaving Europe behind
Living in the day-to-day mud fight that substitutes for American politics, are we (purposely) missing the true phenomenon of our times - the re-emergence of Africa?
I acknowledge that it may be too early to see if this is a true paradigm shift with legs, but let's look to the global big picture - in other words, let's see the forest for the trees...
And, oh BTW, the above picture is a vibrant Lagos, Nigeria.
Check out this story, Why Africa is leaving Europe behind.
Africans are relishing something of a reversal in roles. The former colonial powers in Europe are wrestling with debt crises, austerity budgets, rising unemployment and social turmoil. By contrast much of sub-Saharan Africa can point to robust growth, better balanced books and rising capital inflows. There is an opportunity in this novel scenario: for Africa to assert itself on the global stage, and for European countries to take advantage of their historic footprint in Africa by stimulating commercial expansion to their south. But it is far from clear either side will grasp it.
The problems faced by western governments are all too familiar to African countries. They too found their public services hollowed out in the 1980s and 1990s under the strict conditions of World Bank and International Monetary Fund bail-outs. In the worst instances, state authority was fatally weakened as discontent boiled over on the streets.
Today, by contrast they can point to improved economic figures, a reviving middle class and arguably, in places, more effective social control. Even Lagos – much rougher, larger, poorer and unequal than London – has never witnessed looting on the scale that took place in the former capital of empire last week, although inhabitants of the Nigerian mega-city have certainly competed when it comes to arson.
Africa has been enjoying this reversal of roles. As rioting spread from London to other cities, South Africa’s foreign ministry took the unusual step of issuing a travel advisory warning its citizens against visiting the UK. There was also retaliation for past jibes about their country’s capacity to organise the 2010 football World Cup, by questioning whether London can be trusted to host a safe Olympics. read more