Hope for Africa

One year ago, Xavier Sala i Martín and Martin Pinkovskiy published their study “African Poverty is Falling… Much Faster than You Think!”. Their main finding is that the number of African people living in extreme poverty has fallen from 46% in 1995 to 37% in 2007.

A few months ago, The Economist pointed out that African seven out of the ten countries with better growth perspectives in the next 5 years are African (Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo, Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria).

Has Globalization finally reached Africa? The WTO can certainly share some light in this sense: according to its statistics, from 2000 to 2007, exports from African countries grew at an average of 18%, while the year 2008 saw this number reach 28%, well above China or Brazil.

We could analyze another indicator: tourism. The continent was visited by 14,8 people in 1990, but 2009 numbers are much higher, with over 46 million visitors. More interesting facts: in 2008, foreign direct investment from OECD countries in Africa was as high as 35,000 million dollars, while this number was simply 5,000 in 2002.

Slowly but surely, Africa is turning the corner and leaving corruption, bad governance and insecurity behind. Trade, private property, democracy and economic freedom are helping lift millions of people out of poverty.

Hopefully, this trend will continue. There is still a lot of work to do, but things finally seem to be looking better for Africa.

Written by Diego Sánchez de la Cruz, alumnus of the Master in International Relations (MIR)