Is Africa catching up?

The 2000s were for much of the developing world a first decade of strong growth since the 1970s. They were marked by a global shift in wealth and the emergence of a new geography of the world economy. But the shift is not just about major emerging markets such as China, but shows up in African growth figures as well. This should not be surprising: a 2008 article in the OECD Observer reported that Africa had survived the early crisis quite well, and since 2000 the magazine has been highlighting the growing interest in Africa among private investors, not to mention its brighter image as a place for young people from OECD countries to go and find work. (more…)

South Africa – winners and losers

The arrival of the World Cup to South Africa is a tribute to that country’s transformation since Apartheid ended in the early 1990s. It’s now a thriving emerging market–the “S” in the BRICS–and participates in the G20 and OECD work too.

But behind this success story lies a troubling and persistent problem – poverty. Based on the national definition of poverty – $4 a day – more than half of South Africans (54%) are poor. And, as the chart below shows, poverty and inequality still reflect race. While the African community’s access to services such as housing, water and electricity has improved substantially, its income continues to lag far behind other social groups. By international standards, this link between race and poverty is remarkably strong. Nor have there been too many signs of this link weakening.  

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