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Ex Africa semper aliquid novi

(Apologies for the quote overload today...)

Heartening news from the IMF:

"The criteria for an emerging market set out here—growth, private sector–led growth, and investible markets—can be identified in eight sub-Saharan African countries: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia...This group of African countries compares favorably with the ASEAN countries of 1980 (see table). ASEAN was already experiencing strong economic growth in 1980 but, in many other areas, the ASEAN countries looked quite different than they do today—and the African candidates perhaps have lower vulnerability and greater economic stability than the ASEAN countries had in 1980".

ASEAN members in 1980 were Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, all of which have come a very long way from Skid Row.

And here's the table:

"The rise of some African countries to emerging market status gives them a tremendous economic opportunity. Access to capital markets is a key ingredient to high and sustainable private sector–led growth, and this access had long seemed out of reach for Africa; it is now a reality".

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Anonymous Umbongo said... 10:28 am

And you (and the IMF) believe this! I have some limited experience of African economies - Ethiopia to be exact. The statistical basis on which this kind of report/forecast is made is, to say the least, dodgy. I worked in Addis with economists and others from the World Bank and other international quangos. The WB employees/consultants were unanimous (not publicly obviously) in trashing the "official" statistics produced by Ethiopia, every other African nation and their boosters in the West. (I report this with no pretence to cultural superiority: UK "official" statistics are no longer the gold standard they once were.)

The EMTA (which has provided some of the data for the IMF report) was formed from traders in the paper issued by bust sovereign states in the 70s and 80s and was given impetus by the Brady Plan. Now let's see: if your trade is in almost valueless (or severely discounted) paper issued by bust economies world-wide what sort of news would you try to encourage? I know: that those bust (and moribund) economies are poised for take-off.

Call me Mr Cynical but it seems that it is in the interests of both the IMF (as an international bureaucracy which, right now, has no discernable function) and the EMTA to burble on about how well Africa is doing. The danger for them, of course, is that they will come up against the Aid to Africa industry. Let's hope a modus vivendi will be established. I'm sure it will: there are jobs at stake in Washington, New York and Geneva.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 10:45 am

Umbongo - thanks for that. It is as well never to take one's cynical hat off, I fear.  



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