You can’t turn a page or click a tab here in the UK without reading about the ongoing woes of the global recession, and I rather suspect the situation is similar for Stateside readers.
Thing is, the global recession isn’t quite so global as it looks from our standpoint in the “developed” West; via Tobias Buckell, here’s a piece at Foreign Policy that paints the nations of Africa as a golden investment opportunity – a far cry from the war-scarred deserts and shanty-towns of popular perception.
Africa, in fact, is now one of the world’s fastest-growing economic regions. Between 2000 and 2008, the continent’s collective GDP grew at 4.9 percent per year — twice as fast as in the preceding two decades. By 2008, that put Africa’s economic output at $1.6 trillion, roughly on par with Russia and Brazil. Africa was one of only two regions — Asia being the other — where GDP rose during 2009’s global recession. And revenues from natural resources, the old foundation of Africa’s economy, directly accounted for just 24 percent of growth during the last decade; the rest came from other booming sectors, such as finance, retail, agriculture, and telecommunications. Not every country in Africa is resource rich, yet GDP growth accelerated almost everywhere.
Toby goes on to do some back-of-the-envelope maths:
The world population is estimated to be 6.7 Billion.
Asia and India, both currently in growth patterns, represent 60% of the world’s population. Africa represents 15%. So 75% of the world is actually right now currently growing.
However most of Western Europe, parts of North America, and parts of South America are not. So it’s a global lack of growth for 25% of the world’s population.
There’s no denying that things are looking pretty grim economically for us Euros and Yanks, and that our problems are having a knock-on effect elsewhere. But rather than a global recession, perhaps what we’re seeing is simply a globe that doesn’t spin around us as the pivot point any more. Cold comfort for the myopic, I suppose, but I’m kind of relieved; we’ve had our time in the sun, but the sun hasn’t stopped shining just yet.