NC State Economist Dr. Mike Walden – Africa Moves Up

When people think of booming areas of the world today, many would identify China, then maybe India and Southeast Asia and perhaps parts of Europe. But one region that should be on the list – Africa – might come as a surprise. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden explains.

“Actually … while the rest of the world has been struggling with the recession, Africa the continent has been growing quite well. Now as a continent, (Africa) is still relatively poor, but they have experienced growth rates of 3, 4, 5, some countries 6, 7 percent a year in the last decade, whereas other developed countries have been growing between 1 and 2 percent.
“And I think there are several reasons for this good news: First of all, big strides in education help in Africa. Technology, smartphones, the internet – these are allowing markets to develop in countries in Africa. Natural resources: Africa has oil. They have metals. These are things that the rest of the world wants.

“And there have been some positive political moves that have created stability and democracy in some countries. So I think, overall, investors are looking very possibly to add Africa.

“Now one concern, though: What we have found historically is that countries (that) do have a lot of natural resources like oil, they tend to focus only on that, and they don’t tend to develop the rest of their economy. So when their oil runs out, they don’t really have anything. I think there’s some concern that some countries in Africa may go that route.”


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