Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rising Star Safari

In the Economist's view, recent developments in the Dark Continent have reduced Paul Theroux's excellent Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown to a historical artifact. This week's Special Report is brimming with optimism, and though the legacies of colonialism and the Cold War linger on, the future looks brighter for most people. Below are the points from the Report I highlighted:

  • Secondary school enrollment grew by 48% between 2000-2008;
  • Malaria deaths have declined by 30% and HIV infections by 74% in the last decade;
  • The poorest nations are landlocked;
  • Bank account holders in Kenya have risen from 1 million to 20 million in the last ten years;
  • Mobile phone and Internet access is widespread and growing.

Then again, $4-8 billion of Nigeria's oil revenue is stolen annually (and there are lots of other similar examples--I'm looking at you Mr. Mugabe), so there is still a long way to go. But the population is young and moving to cities in increasing numbers, two good things for future prosperity.

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