The post below is in response to an article questioning whether Africa is rising for Africans: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/11/do-africans-buy-into-booming-africa-narrative-20131115104944383990.html
There is a saying, “He who pays the piper, calls the tune”. When reading an “Africa Rising” report I always look first to who wrote it and for whom. Often these reports are sponsored or authored by the likes of Goldman Sachs, Bretton-Woods institutions & western conglomerates.
We are constantly told to look at the big picture that is infrastructure development, i.e. road construction, energy & clean water provision, shiny new buildings all bigger & better than ever before, but at what cost? There is a myth told by those in investment circles to the populace that a rising tide lifts all ships, however, for you to enjoy this, you actually have to be in the water. In other words, you must be of some use to the sponsors, if you are the urban or rural poor, you don’t count because you’re not part of the target market, in fact you are an obstacle or cost centre to be minimised.
Using western measures of growth for Africa has proven to not work too well but the masters of capital have no time to waste coming up with more appropriate measures, this is evidenced by the one size fits all strategies espoused from Algeria to Zimbabwe. Take for example, the measure of un/employment in Zimbabwe which has been put by the World Bank and others at over 82% for over 10 years. Can an economy honestly survive like this? This measure fails to take into account the size of the informal economy which is the bulk of Zimbabwe’s economic activity.
Until we have African measures of African economies I will refrain from singing from the Africa Rising hymn sheet.