By Edward Miguel
Edward Miguel, coauthor with Raymond Fisman of monetary Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of countries, is affiliate Professor of Economics and Director of the heart of Evalulations for worldwide motion on the college of California, Berkeley.
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Our own brutal civil war took place eighty years after independence from Britain, and it was not until after that transformative war that the is it africa’s turn? United States became a genuine economic and military power. After its forced opening to the outside world in 1853, Japan suffered three decades of political instability and economic stagnation before it too found its institutional footing and started on its unprecedented path of economic development. For the first time in a long while, there is genuine hope today that Africa is on the path to real economic and political progress, and may finally catch up to the rest of the world economy.
Creating new identities and institutions is not something that foreign colonizers, aid donors, or the IMF and World Bank are willing or able to do. That kind of transformation demands visionary leaders, who have too often been lacking in Africa, or have themselves been victims of political violence. Further complicating matters, leaders and citizens trying to assemble structures of civic life must contend with the immediate economic imperatives of boosting agricultural productivity, educating the workforce, and building a modern transportation infrastructure.
Is it africa’s turn? While rising demand for commodities is one way that Asia’s economic boom helps to raise African living standards, China’s economic involvement in Africa now goes far beyond arms-length imports and exports. Chinese firms have begun investing directly in African oil and mineral producers and in roads, dams, and telecommunications infrastructure. It is estimated that annual Chinese direct investment in Africa surpassed the one billion dollar mark in 2005 and has continued to rise since.
Africa's Turn? (Boston Review Books) by Edward Miguel