El Nobel de economía Gary Becker reflexiona sobre el progreso de África, mostrándose prudencial y moderadamente optimista.
Several factors explain why Africa’s future looks rather bright. Probably number one is the continuing discovery in Africa of minerals and fossil fuels that are demanded by China, India, and other countries as world economic growth picks up. Experts estimate that the recently discovered coal deposits in Mozambique are the largest new coal reserves since the major finds in Australia during the 1960s. Oil reserves in Nigeria, Ghana, and other parts of Africa constitute more than 10% of the world’s reserves of oil, and South Africa has 40% of the world’s gold. Africa also has about one third of the world’s cobalt- a mineral used to prepare magnetic, wear-resistant, and high-strength alloys- and many other minerals.
However, attitudes of African leaders toward markets and private business began to change a couple of decades ago, in part because the socialist approach failed. (...) While some optimism about Africa’s future is warranted, its future is not assured because Africa still faces important problems. Yes, the private sector in mobile phones, natural resources, and elsewhere has grown a lot in many African countries, but the expansion of private companies has often taken the form of crony capitalism rather than competitive capitalism. By crony capitalism I mean that governments give special protected positions to favored companies in important sectors of the economy rather than allowing competition among companies to determine who are the winners and losers. Crony capitalism is partly the result of a continuing excessive role of the government in the economy. At the same time it encourages government corruption because companies compete politically to obtain these favored positions, partly by bribing government officials to favor them. Crony capitalism may be better than socialist direction of an economy, but is is far inferior to competitive capitalism. (...)
Africa still gets too much foreign aid that raises government spending at the expense of the private sector. Net official aid to Africa has risen sharply since 1970 as shares of both government spending and GDP. In 2008, such aid constituted more than 30% of government spending and 4% of African GDP. India discovered during its first 40 years of independence that foreign aid-India used to be the world’s largest recipient of foreign aid- only slowed down the necessary adjustments toward a smaller government sector and a larger competitive private sector. Africa needs to learn the same lesson.
Incluyo otros enlaces relacionados:
- What’s driving Africa’s growth - McKinsley Quarterly
- La globalización despierta a los leones económicos de África - Fernando Díaz Villanueva