Talking Points on Economy and Development
Politicians and investors in Africa and around the world speak of
creating good jobs. In practice they most often promote a market-fundamentalist development model that sheds jobs while increasing profits for the 1%.
The "Africa Rising" narrative celebrating rapid economic growth
in many African countries contains a partial truth. New investment
in extractive industries to serve world markets is growing, and there
is rapid growth in information and communication technology as well.
But most Africans, whether in the rural areas or the burgeoning cities,
have little access to the wealth created. Jobs in the formal sector do not
come close to keeping up with expansion of the labor force. And government
policies marginalize the interests of workers and small farmers.
Sustainable development depends on public investment in health, education, and infrastructure, but these investments fall far short
of what is needed.
Significant change in economic policies, in Africa and around the world,
will only come if there is active transnational mobilization for economic justice
for the 99%. Such action must include not only political groups, but also
unions, farmers' organizations, human rights groups, churches, and others
in all sectors of society.
South African platinum miners organize a wildcat strike in October 2012.
T-shirts refer to massacre of striking miners at Marikana in August that year.
Recent bulletins on economy and development
January 26, 2015 Burkina Faso: Hopes for New Beginnings
"Over the next year, the transition away from the Compaoré era [in
Burkina Faso] will be full of uncertainties. The opposition leaders
are focused on new elections, which they clearly hope to win.
Others, closer to the activist networks, are also pushing for more
fundamental changes: to improve people's economic and social
conditions, root out corruption, reform state institutions, and
bring to justice the worst criminals of the ancien régime." - Ernest
January 21, 2015 Africa/Global: Ebola Lessons & Questions
Media coverage of the Ebola epidemic, which took a sharp downward
turn after a handful of patients in the United States recovered, has
faded even further into the background as the battle against the
epidemic has begun to succeed in the most-affected countries. But
those on the front lines warn that complacency could easily allow
the still-present virus to hold out and even expand. And although
there are clear lessons to be learned, there are also unanswered
questions, most notably about international will to implement the
imperative of sustainable health systems for the future.
January 13, 2015 Nigeria: Elections/Security Disconnect
"These images from Northern Nigeria should be searing the conscience
of the world. Some two thousand innocent children, women and elderly
reportedly massacred in Baga. A young girl sent to her death with a
bomb strapped to her chest in Maiduguri. And lest we forget, more
than two hundred girls stolen from their families, still lost. Words
alone can neither express our outrage nor ease the agony of all
those suffering from the constant violence in northern Nigeria. But
these images of recent days and all they imply for the future of
Nigeria should galvanize effective action. For this cannot go on."
- UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, January 11, 2015
January 6, 2015 Sierra Leone: Losing Out
According to World Bank estimates in December, Sierra Leone is the
country that has suffered the greatest economic losses from the
impact of Ebola. Economic growth, estimated at a 11.3% annual rate
in the first half of 2014, contracted at a 2.8% annual rate in the
second half of the year, and was projected to drop another 2% in
2015. Such massive losses not only illustrate the profound impact of
Ebola; they also raise questions about the nature of the growth that
left the country so vulnerable to the epidemic.
by date | by place | by topic
December 15, 2014
Africa/Global: Postponing Climate Decisions
December 8, 2014
Africa: Reflections from an Elder Statesman
December 1, 2014
USA/Nigeria: Uneasy Alliance
November 19, 2014
Africa: Past Time for Bandaids
November 11, 2014
Africa/Global: Fossil-Fuel Divestment Growing
November 11, 2014
Africa/Global: Climate Change Summary Report
November 5, 2014
Africa/Global: Public Health, Shared Responsibilities
October 30, 2014
South Africa: In Africa? Or Not?
October 20, 2014
USA/Africa: Decent Work Agenda
October 14, 2014
USA/Africa: New Statistics on Immigrant Communities
October 7, 2014
Africa: Ebola Perspectives
September 22, 2014
Africa: Climate Action & Economic Growth
September 16, 2014
Africa: Tracing the Oil Money
September 10, 2014
West Africa: Ebola Response Scale-Up Urgent, Uncertain
August 18, 2014
Africa: From Kerosene to Solar
August 11, 2014
Africa: Investment for Whom?