Pan African Connection
Bringing Literacy, Education and Development to disadvantaged communities across Africa
Development in Africa versus the Industrial World
Speaking with some people from rich countries, you get a sense that bringing disadvantaged
communities into a better standard of living, is analogous to committing suicide. They base this view on
1) Limited amount of natural resources, forcing developed economies to pay more for raw materials
and hydrocarbon energy.
2) The loss of consumers to the developed world.
3) Competition for scarce financial resources.
But the reality of these concerns and others that I have heard over time is quite contrary to the real
outcomes to the developed world.
Africa is not at the threshold of becoming the world's manufacturing center; it does not have access to
the "Development Paradigm" that was available to the early adopters of industrial development or even
to the late comers in Asia.
In reality what comes to the developed world is a billion strong group of consumers!! Even under the
best possible economic gains for sub-Saharan Africa, the area in general is going to be a consumer of
bigger ticket item which they will have to purchase for their people, from planes to x-ray machines, from
medical equipment to advanced electronics, advanced computers and machinery, the knowledge
based areas of high finance and big business enterprises.
Part of the argument heard on maintaining our hydrocarbon energy sources, is the high cost of
alternative sources. The high cost of implementation coupled with the economic loss to existing sectors
that support the hydrocarbon industries. However, missing in these arguments is the all too real fact,
that across much of the underdeveloped world, people are having to live with paying premium prices for
the little energy they do consume. On the question of hydrocarbon use; please read this page on Energy
that takes this argument a little further. But in short, an empowered Africa means that in general we
attain more quickly a return on investment to the implementation of new sources of energy. The cost is
spread over a bigger set of consumers. Indeed properly executed Africa can leapfrog into becoming a
leader in the use of alternative, or renewable sources of fuels.