In This Review

Africa Through an Economic Lens
Africa Through an Economic Lens
By Amadou Sy
Brookings Institution Press, 2018, 224 pp.

Sy, a former career International Monetary Fund economist, lays out the optimistic vision of how economic growth could transform Africa. The book can feel a little haphazard—it is partly cobbled together from a blog Sy wrote at the Brookings Institution—but it offers interesting prescriptions for how Africa can overcome the constraints to faster growth, from improving infrastructure to addressing the massive structural unemployment that results from Africa’s continuing rapid population growth. Sy often returns to the problem of mobilizing enough foreign and domestic investment, as capital shortages remain the most significant constraint on the rapid growth he thinks Africa can achieve. He is so bullish about the returns on investment in Africa that he does not view the rising debt burdens of countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia as posing serious problems.