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Africa

Roundtrip travels of a T-shirt

In the award winning book, ‘Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade,’ Pietra Rivoli tracked the making of T-shirts as it traveled from American cotton farms to Chinese factories, finally arriving on a showroom in Ft. Lauderdale – and all of the tariffs and protective barriers in between.

China’s investments in Africa

Between 1990 and 1997, Chinese investment into Africa amounted to about $20 million, but from 1998 to 2002 that increased six-fold to $120 million. Only about twenty percent of that amount came into South Africa, not as large a share as might have been expected. The report indicates that there are 450 Chinese-owned investment projects in Africa, of which 46 percent are in manufacturing, 40 percent in services and only 9 percent in resource-related industries.

The ‘Nescafé’ development model

Anyone who's ever spent time in Africa (and many other places - feel free to chime in) has run into the "Nescafe" phenomenon. I also like to refer to it as the "who do I have to kill to get a decent cup of coffee" kunumdrum. Rather than real coffee, most establishments, office coffee areas (if you are lucky enough to have one), etc. have Nescafe - instant coffee. It's just not that great. And rather than just recognize it's inadequacies and replacing it, it's just modified and jazzed up to appear better than it is.

Why poor countries are poor

We still don’t have a good word to describe what is missing in Cameroon and in poor countries across the world. But we are starting to understand what it is. Some people call it “social capital,” or maybe “trust.” Others call it “the rule of law,” or “institutions.” But these are just labels. The problem is that Cameroon, like other poor countries, is a topsy-turvy place where it’s in most people’s interest to take actions that directly or indirectly damage everyone else.

Dear Bono…

I am afraid that your energies have been misdirected when they are used to advance an aid agenda that is based on two obsolete and counter- productive premises: first, that aid for Africa must be spent in Africa rather than outside it and, second, that we must work to increase aid flows to a target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product…


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