Is Africa’s development inevitable? The conventional assumption is that all countries and regions will develop – albeit at different speeds – and will eventually graduate from their emerging economy status into the ranks of the First World that has been led by the West.
The rapid ascent of Asian economies in the past three decades and the creation of wealth in their societies reinforces the belief that “developing” is a temporary phenomenon. Whilst capitalism has tended to favour the first-mover countries, the accelerated rise of Asia’s Tiger economies and most recently China and its profound impact on the global economy over the course of the last quarter-century is reshaping our views on how countries and regions can develop.
The 20th century saw Asia recovering an influential position in global affairs. In the 21st century will Africa could do the same.
The Asia region 50 years ago was characterised by post-conflict societies, mass poverty and corrupted by populist ideology – not too unlike many contemporary examples in Africa today. The narrative for Africa has shifted remarkably in the past decade to one that is decidedly positive – “Africa Rising” is what TheEconomist magazine had labelled it.