Africa: A Case Study

(Submitted by Mikky)
A few years ago, at a football match, a friend of mine from Tanzania said that the good days for Africa aren’t so far. Many say Africa is poor and have a picture of hungry children in their minds when they think of Africa.  But some do know the prosperous edge of mega cities like Lagos. Well again the world knows that Africa is centuries away to be an integrated continent like Europe. Like Asia is the industry for the world, Africa is just a supplier of raw materials for this planet.

A Case Study

   Gabon, for example, is a developed country for the African region. They have thrived on abundant exports of oil accounting for 80% of their total exports in the last 30 years. This has significantly increased their incomes; the per capita income of Gabon is around $8000 which is as much as China. But what came in as their downfall is the poor planning that is a plague of African govt. as a result their economic viability is suffocated with corrupt institutions. In another 15 years, Gabon’s oil is going dry. Their economy today makes a lot of money, the party is short lived. Their economy is too dependent on one sector. Gabon, when they deplete what they have, I wouldn’t be writing that $8000 as their P.C.I 20 years from now.
Le Gabon et l'Ouest africain
Gabon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
All of the planet will be short on oil in a few decades from today. As far as I can see, the economies are busy selling their future for the profit of today. The occupational structure in oil producing countries ceases to be anything transitional. The scene looks scary for these overly dependent countries. Their depleting resources call for plans from the present day itself. We can take an insight into the possibilities that are abound in most of the OPEC countries.
1. Transition of structural occupations thus diversifying exports (growth of a home based labour market)
2. Encouraging higher education among the locals
3. Preventing over capitalization
4. Differential interest rates for oil-extraction sectors
5. Diverting the investments in real estates into enterprise
The Gulf looks to be in the same path but not Africa. If Africa doesn’t weigh their opportunity costs in sustainable development, those good days my Tanzanian friend foresaw would be earmarking for schmaltzy absurdity and development which has vast spillover effects, yonder afar the African continent back into a “dark continent”.
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©The Idea Bucket, 2013. (Submitted By Mikky)
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4 Comments

  1. There is a very good case to be made for Oil actually having been a massive disadvantage for most of Africa. The discovery of oil in the delta in nigeria enriched a small few and removed the need to nurture long term more sustainable industries in the country. A nation that should be exporting food and agricultural wealth still imports food while exporting oil that benefits only a tiny percentage of the population. However, it should be said that the problems of Africa might start to be solved when the world stops seeing it as Africa and starts seeing it as a massive continent full of thousands of different tribes, hundreds of languages, multiple countries and a panoply of issues and challenges and problems that do not benefit from over-simplification.
    There is no doubt that Africa suffers greatly from corruption, incompetence, greed and human folly. But it also suffers from the systematic rape of its resources by nations who are still happy to trade great tracks of land for the modern equivalent of a few beads and blankets.

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  2. I think your postis well thought out and informative. Also, I think the world would be better served by having scientists act as if the finite supply of oil is near depletion (because it is) and put more effort into alternative energy sources. Research of solar (and actually any other) power source is needed immediately if the loss of oil as an energy source is to be compensated for in the near future.

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