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African Successes

Shanta Devarajan's picture

In recent years, a broad swath of African countries has begun to show a remarkable dynamism.  From Mozambique’s impressive growth rate (averaging 8% p.a. for more than a decade) to Kenya’s emergence as a major global supplier of cut flowers, from M-pesa’s mobile phone-based cash transfers to KickStart’s low-cost irrigation technology for small-holder farmers, and from Rwanda’s gorilla tourism to Lagos City’s Bus Rapid Transit system, Africa is seeing a dramatic transformation.  This favorable trend is spurred by, among other things, stronger leadership, better governance, an improving business climate, innovation, market-based solutions, a more involved citizenry, and an increasing reliance on home-grown solutions.  More and more, Africans are driving African development. 

The global economic crisis of 2008-09 threatens to undermine the optimism that Africa can harness this dynamism for long-lasting development.  In light of this, it might be useful to re-visit recent achievements.  The African Successes study aims to do just that.

The study will identify a wide range of development successes (see list), from which around 20 cases will be selected for in-depth study.  The analysis of each successful experience will evaluate the following: (1) the drivers of success—what has worked and why; (2) the sustainability of the successful outcome(s); and (3) the potential for scaling up successful experiences.  African success stories offer valuable insights and practical lessons to other countries in the region. 

I welcome your comments and suggestions for success stories. Click here to see the list of what we have come up with so far.

Les douanes camerounaises se regardent dans le miroir

Gael Raballand's picture

En Afrique, l’administration des douanes joue un rôle de tout premier plan dans le développement économique et social puisque les droits et taxes collectées par les douanes représentent bien souvent au moins 30% des recettes du budget national (hors pays pétroliers). Dans le même temps, c’est l’une des administrations les plus décriées étant bien souvent décrites comme le symbole même de la corruption et un terrible frein au commerce.

Empowering matatu passengers

Shanta Devarajan's picture

In low-income countries, road traffic accidents account for 3.7 percent of deaths, twice as high as deaths due to malaria.  Anyone who has traveled in Kenya won’t be surprised to hear that 20 percent of recorded crashes involve matatus, the private buses that careen around the city.  Billy Jack and James Habyarimana have a fascinating impact evaluation where they randomly put posters in matatus encouraging passengers to “heckle and chi

La facilitation des échanges comme réponse à la crise et le développement en Afrique

John Wilson's picture

La réponse de l’Afrique à la crise économique actuelle doit se faire sur plusieurs façades. Une reforme des politiques commerciales permettant l’épanouissement du secteur privé devrait être au centre de tout effort tendant à minimiser l’impact sur les économies africaine à  court terme et à long terme des perturbations des marchés.

Crisis Management Today and Investing for Tomorrow: Why Trade Facilitation Matters to Africa

John Wilson's picture

There are many factors which will impact Africa’s ability to weather the current economic crisis. Finding ways to reform trade policy that enhances private sector growth should be part of any strategy now and in the long-term to counteract the damage today’s economic crisis is having. As Shanta noted in his lecture in November at Columbia, private sector growth is a key priority for Africa.

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