AFRICA’S BOOM YEARS

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Baverez Nicolas

by Nicolas Baverez

2015-03-23
 
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For almost half a century, the undertakings made when the African States gained independence came to nothing. It became apparent that national unity and sovereignty were merely masks, which concealed flourishing dictatorship and corruption in a situation of under-development and poverty and the curse of the raw materials that kept the leaders wealthy against the background of the grinding poverty of the peoples. Having made a bad start, Africa ended by being relegated to the margins of the world and was regarded as lost as far as democracy and development were concerned.

Since the early years of the 21st century, Africa has become emancipated from this fate and has broken the chains preventing its take-off. Economic growth (5.5% per annum) and increased productivity (3.4% per annum) have sharply exceeded population increase (2.5% per annum). Urbanisation has gathered speed with the emergence of a middle class of over 300 million people. The continent has become the second largest global market after Asia for telecommunications. Lastly, there have been major advances in governance with, first, the abolition of the apartheid regime and, second, the strengthening of the market and the rule of law. Gradually, Africa has asserted its position as one of the new frontiers of globalisation.

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