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Rising from the Ashes: How fires in Addis Ababa are shedding light on the need for resilience

Maria Angelica Sotomayor's picture

On January 22, 2012 at 6:00 am in the morning, Ethiopians living in the Efoyta Market neighborhood in Addis Ababa woke up to a burning five-story building. More than 13 hours later, the fire had killed two people, destroyed 65,000 square miles including several homes and businesses, and produced damages amounting to ETB 20 million ($1 million), a huge amount in a country where nearly 30% of the population live on less than  $1.90 a day.   

Faire de la géographie un atout pour le Bénin

Jacques Morisset's picture
Also available in: English
Crédit: Arne Hoel/World Bank

Dans la lignée de grands économistes, le nouveau gouvernement du Bénin pourrait s'inspirer de sa situation géographique pour propulser le pays sur la voie de l’émergence.
Pour l'économiste Jeffrey Sachs, professeur à l’Université de Columbia à New York, si la majorité des pays tropicaux n'ont pas réussi leur décollage économique, c’est à cause de leur climat qui a facilité la propagation de maladies épidémiques. L'économiste Paul Collier, professeur à l'Université d'Oxford, explique le retard économique de l'Afrique Sub-Saharienne par le fait qu’un nombre disproportionné d’habitants vivent éloignés des océans et donc des marchés mondiaux. Enfin, le célèbre historien français Fernand Braudel rappelait que les villes ne sont devenues des foyers de croissance économique qu’à partir du moment où elles ont commencé à abriter des industries de transformation, facteur encore souvent absent en Afrique.

The future of Benin will be shaped by its geography

Jacques Morisset's picture
Also available in: Français
Photo Credit: Arne Hoel/World Bank

Following a long tradition of economists, the newly-elected government in Benin can gain inspiration from geography. For economist Jeffrey Sachs, university professor at New York’s Columbia University, many tropical countries have failed to grow because their hot climate facilitated the propagation of epidemic diseases. Economist Paul Collier, professor of economics and public policy in the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxfod, has argued that Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is lagging because of its disproportionate number of people living far from the ocean and thus from global markets.  Similarly, French historian Fernand Braudel’s work  reminds us that many urban centers only became “true” drivers of growth when they were able to host processing industries, which are usually absent in Africa.

Rich Countries, Poor People: Will Africa’s commodity boom benefit the poor?

Anand Rajaram's picture

Travelling across Africa these days you are likely to run into increasing numbers of mining, oil, and gas industry personnel engaged in exploration, drilling, and extraction across the continent. Although commodity prices are moderating, the discoveries being made in Africa offer the real prospect of significant revenue to many cash-poor, aid-dependent governments in the decade ahead. If you care about development, the question is whether these revenues will catalyze broad economic development and whether they will benefit the poor in Africa.