NOTE: This is a guest post from Barbara Alison Rose, the Executive Director of Aid for Africa.
When thinking about Africa, the facts that come to mind are often not good. Most Africans live on less than $2 a day. The average life span in many countries is only 50 years. Famine and starvation persist. The list goes on and on.
In an article at the end of last year, The Economist reviewed the future prospects for Africa, but highlighted some different facts. Over the past decade, The Economist wrote, six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were in Africa. In eight of the past ten years, Africa’s economic growth was higher than in East Asia, including Japan. Even allowing for the economic slowdown in northern counties, the International Monetary Fund expects Africa to grow by 6 percent in 2012, about the same as Asia.
Surprising? Not to three African ambassadors to United States, who discussed the future of their countries at a recent Africa Studies Association Annual Meeting. The ambassadors from Sierra Leone, Kenya and Rwanda were bullish on the economic future of the continent. What is the basis of the surprising optimism of the ambassadors and The Economist? As we begin 2012, we might well focus on some facts that provide another way to view Africa and its prospects for the future:
Let there be no misunderstanding: the challenges are great, and corruption and bad government will not disappear overnight. But the African continent is moving forward even in these times of world economic hardship.
This post was originally published on the Aid for Africa blog here.
Aid for Africa is a unique partnership of some 80 select charities, all dedicated to solving the complex, inter-related challenges facing Africa. Our members realize that, as effective as they each are on their own, they can be even more powerful when they approach Africa’s issues as a group.
Aid for Africa works with its partners on the ground in Africa to find solutions to the education, health, development, and wildlife challenges facing the region. Whether we are distributing books to school children, introducing medical strategies to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, supporting small businesses for women, or finding new approaches to protect endangered elephants and lions, Aid for Africa is working to build a better future for Africa’s children, families, and communities.
Photo credit: World Hope International
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