Rwanda a model for Africa?
Africa's economy looks better than it has in many years - overall GDP is growing 5%, inflation generally is below 10% and tourism is up 10% this year vs. 5% globally.
Paulo Gomes, the World Bank's executive director in charge of 25 Sub-Saharan countries, laid out the reasons and the lessons in his tutorial, "Africa: The Rising Economy." Of course, high oil prices are spurring economies in some countries (Angola, Chad), and high mineral prices are a windfall for others such as Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia. But even countries not dependent on such commodities are growing.
Peace, quite simply, has a lot to do with Africa's brighter outlook. "Ten years ago there were 16 active conflicts, and now we have four," Gomes says.
Is Africa's rise sustainable?
Of course, African countries tend to be powderkegs, and a global recession, Gomes says, "would be very very painful for Africa."
Direct foreign investment, not foreign aid, is the key to sustainability. The best model may be Rwanda.
John Gage, Sun Microsystems' chief researcher, talked passionately in the session about his quest to determine which African country Sun should put its money into.
"I went around the country and kept asking people, "Have you been asked for bribes?'"
Rwanda emerged as the least corrupt country, at least by Gage's on-the-street survey. Gage and Sun are now helping to get Rwanda wired for cell phones. They're working with a Boston investor who bought Rwandatel. The goal: Get cell service across Rwanda and reduce calls to 10 cents a minute, vs. 45 cents in the rest of Africa.
Connectivity - the theme of Fortune Brianstorm - is a big step toward sustaining growth. Posted by Patricia Sellers
Rwanda...a model for Africa? Sadly this could not be further from the truth. In the last few years, the government of Rwanda has worked hard to make people believe that the country's economy is doing great when in fact the majority of the country is submerged in extreme poverty. The truth is that while ridiculous amount of money is being spent on building beautiful buildings in the capital city of Kigali and homeless children are being illegally taken off the streets and detained, the average person can�t even afford to buy milk nowadays. The wealthy individuals, many of them government officials, are getting wealthier while everyone else is getting poorer. The lucky ones are opting to leave and resettle in countries like Canada.
If you�re really think Rwanda is a model for Africa, read these reports and judge for yourself:
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