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The Economist has a nice piece here on the True Size of Africa. It’s about geographic size (Africa is bigger than you think – which is true for all countries and regions near the equator that don’t benefit from the Mercator distortion in our two-dimensional map world).
That’s right. Ghana announced today that its GDP isn’t actually $15.7 billion, but rather $25.6 billion. This sudden 63% jump occurred not because of a sudden oil find (the oil doesn’t arrive until next month), but rather because of a technical rebasing of the way GDP is calculated. Turns out that services like telecoms are a lot bigger than everyone believed yesterday. Here are a few of my quick reactions:
This is a joint post with Ben Leo.
It’s the season for trade talks with Africa again. The annual AGOA Forum, which opens today, is one of those ideas that sound terrific: assemble all of the relevant U.S. and African policymakers to discuss ways of generating greater commerce. Last year the forum was in Nairobi; this year it’s two days in Washington and then three days in Kansas City (consistent with the administration’s food security focus).
Is African governance getting better? The Mo Ibrahim Foundation seems to be having a tough time finding winners for its prize for retiring African presidents. The prize, designed to strengthen incentives for African leaders to relinquish office when their terms end, consists of US$5million over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. After giving the award to Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano in 2007 and Botswana’s Festus Mogae in 2008, they decided no one deserved it last year.
Things are still going badly in Zimbabwe, and there’s little doubt that the same old negative forces are to blame. There is also concern that once the attention of the World Cup in South Africa has passed, that the risk of renewed violence will rise.
This entry was also posted on the Huffington Post, AllAfrica, and Sahara Reporters.
Amid all the media frenzy around the Nigerian underwear bomber and how America should have stopped him before he tried to blow up a passenger plane on Christmas Day, a critical piece to the counter-terrorism puzzle seems to have been missed: where in the world is the Nigerian President?