A More Optimistic View on African Welfare

Maxim Pinkovskiy and Xavier Sala-i-Martin comment on African poverty, disputing the popular view that African growth is driven only by oil and natural resources: “The sustained African growth of the last 15 years has engendered a steady decline in poverty that puts Africa on track to meet the Goals by 2017. If peace is established in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it returns to the African trend (which is what happened to other African nations that were formerly at war), Africa will halve its $1/day income poverty rate by 2013, two years ahead of the 2015 target. Moreover, African poverty reduction has been extremely general. Poverty fell for both landlocked and coastal countries, for mineral-rich and mineral-poor countries, for countries with favourable and unfavourable agriculture, for countries with different colonisers, and for countries with varying degrees of exposure to the African slave trade.” In contrast, an?L.A. Times article reported earlier this year that “Sub-Saharan Africa will not reduce poverty and hunger and improve child and maternal healthcare to meet the goals set a decade ago by the United Nations unless African and Western leaders do much more, several recent reports suggest.”?[%comments]


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  1. Paul Oppenheimer says:

    Africa is a G-d forsaken sewer. Hopeless.

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  2. Eric M. Jones says:

    errrrrr……I worry that any definition based on the $1 per day poverty rate is distorted by statistical noise. It would seem that if one filtered out the statistical randomness of such a small number the entire data set would evaporate.

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  3. Eric says:

    Yes, the $1/day criterion – if we measure in “1990 dollars” or something like that, how would the graph look?

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  4. Miss Shanahan says:

    @Paul Oppenheimer
    Who are you to know who has been forsaken by God? How dare you.

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  5. MC says:

    “@Paul Oppenheimer
    Who are you to know who has been forsaken by God? How dare you.
    - Miss Shanahan”

    Miss Shanahan, I think you may be taking Mr. Oppenheimer a little too literally. Anyway, the Europe of 500 years ago or, going by Dickens and other Victorian writers (including Marx), the England of the 19th century was a G-d forsaken place. And look at things now. History is not yet over. Who knows what Africa will be 50 or 100, let alone 500, years from now?
    (full disclosure – I am an African living in godforsaken Africa!)

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  8. Michael F says:

    Africa needs for-profit investors, venture capitalists and entreprenuers, not hand-outs. Hand-outs create dependency and disincentive markets.

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