Africa Rising*

*for some. (and South Africa contributes almost half of Africa’s GDP)

I chanced across a Reuters blog on the top 10 political risks for 2013 and felt ambivalent seeing emerging markets in spot #1.  It struck a chord because towards the end of last year there was a lot written about the Africa Rising narrative – which is a great antidote to the usual dialogue about Africa as a begging bowl or a basket case, and really encouraging news. The Reuters blog also pointed out that with the potential for immense growth there is the risk that more could go wrong. As more eloquent writers before me have pointed out, you cannot measure success in the developing world solely in terms of profit – it begs the question, for whom? I have a similar gripe with people who talk only of rebranding Africa. Is there an image issue to be addressed? Undoubtedly. But it’s a case of telling a fuller story, not selling a product. Measuring by markets is important but to think only in those terms is reductive; rule of law is important, human rights, social justice, peace.  Africa isn’t a product; nor, for that matter, is it a country.*

* always worth saying

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