During my recent seminar in Geneva, where I was also meeting with the Africa Progress Panel, a couple of members of the audience (which consisted of ambassadors, U.N. staff, civil society and academics) said, “I liked your analysis, but not your conclusions.”
The seminar summarized many of the points I have been making on this blog:
- For the decade before 2008, Africa was experiencing sustained and widespread economic growth, thanks to aid, debt relief, private capital flows, high primary commodity prices, and improved macroeconomic policies
- Despite being the least integrated region, Africa was perhaps the worst hit by the global crisis
- Contrary to some people’s fears, African governments continued to pursue prudent economic policies during the crisis—even though the visible payoffs to these policies (growth and poverty reduction) had suddenly diminished
- Conclusion: Economic policy in Africa, which had been improving before the crisis, and either stayed on course or improved during the crisis, has never been better.
Since my conclusion followed directly from the analysis, I had three possible explanations for the reaction mentioned above: