Courtesy Reuters

Africa's Economic Boom

Why the Pessimists and the Optimists Are Both Right

Can you hear me now? Swaziland, August 2010 (Reuters / Siphiwe Sibeko)

Talk to experts, academics, or businesspeople about the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and you are likely to hear one of two narratives. The first is optimistic: Africa’s moment is just around the corner, or has already arrived. Reasons for hope abound. Despite the global economic crisis, the region’s GDP has grown rapidly, averaging almost five percent a year since 2000, and is expected to rise even faster in the years ahead. Many countries, not just the resource-rich ones, have participated in the boom: indeed, 20 states in sub-Saharan Africa that do

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