The Beast from the East, or the Best from the West-Africa’s dilemma

Posted: December 2, 2013 in General
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Studies reveal Africa is rising – but who benefits? Pacts are continually being signed between the developed economies and African countries, a big chuck going to the asian nations,namely China & India.There’s a renewed mood of self-assertion in Africa. Half a century ago, Africa echoed with the sound of anticolonial liberation. Today, 10 years of dramatic and sustained economic growth and a growing political maturity coinciding with the economic meltdown in the West and political dysfunction in Washington and Europe have granted Africa’s leaders the authority and means to once again challenge Western intervention on the continent, whether it comes in the form of foreign diplomatic pressure, foreign aid, foreign rights monitors or even foreign correspondents. Western powers no longer get to call the shots in Africa.

In the post independence era,many colonies joined the The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) a group of states which are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. In a speech given during the Havana Declaration of 1979, Fidel Castro said the purpose of the organization is to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics. Member states were better placed to gain from either blocs during the cold war.NAM prevented members from becoming pawns in Cold War power games and distanced itself from the Western and Soviet power blocs.As such, the member states gained from both the western powers and the east.

Today,this war has taken new twist & turns.East and West are scrambling for African’s resources.Western countries have remained skeptical about China intentions in Africa.While the Western intervention on the continent comes in the form of foreign diplomatic pressure, foreign aid, foreign rights monitors or even foreign correspondents the East is fast becoming a darling owing to is unconditional loans and grants and hands off style on matters concerning governance in Africa.

Who’s benefiting

Against the backdrop of a prolonged slump that has brought financial paralysis to much of the Western world, experts have identified Africa as having many of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Some point to the fact that high growth rates should be viewed in context, since African economies – mostly relatively small – are expanding from a low base, making improvements seem disproportionately impressive.

But, while the US and UK struggle to emerge from prolonged recessions and European nations such as Greece and Spain experience mass unemployment, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank say countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mozambique are experiencing a boom.
The notion of “Africa rising” – the term that journalists have coined when referring to the idea of economic development on the continent – has, for some, become hackneyed, with bloggers now calling it a meme.

The Economist, which famously labelled Africa the “Hopeless Continent” in 2000, inverted that idea more than a decade later for special coverage looking at what it now considers to be the hopeful continent.

But, beneath the surface of what appears to be a good news story in a part of the world previously portrayed in the Western media as being ravaged by war and famine, questions remain.

There is no doubt that the proportion of wealthy Africans has increased.

The theory is that as there are more people in Africa with disposable incomes and that foreign companies view the continent as the last great market in the world in which to invest and sell their goods.

Unlike Europe, which has an aging population and a diminishing work force, Africa has an increasing population, an expanding work force and a flourishing middle class with money to spend.

Analysts believe that as African economies are developing, the wealth will trickle down from rich to poor via the middle income group.

With growth of 6% and productivity rising by 3%, it is easy to see why things are looking up. A commodities boom and massive investment by China is giving Africa’s young urban generation cause for hope.

However, not everyone is quite so optimistic. Some believe these are myths that have been overstated by the continent’s corporate cheerleaders.

Some argue that the concept of the middle class as an engine for growth is a myth and wealth generated is not trickling down to wider society.

Instead, it is said, other interested parties – such as the local elite and foreign investors from China, India and Brazil – are benefiting from an abundance of natural resources and increased willingness by companies to do business in Africa.


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