Dani Rodrik delivers the ninth annual Sabot Lecture, May 2014.
From his lecture:
There is much to celebrate in Africa’s recent economic performance. Gone are the traditional pessimism about the continent’s growth prospects and the references to basket-case economies. They have been replaced by rosy scenarios replete with stories of African entrepreneurship, expanding Chinese investments, and a growing middle class. The turnaround is easy to see in the numbers.
Now that China, the advanced economies, and most emerging markets are all slowing down, there is a genuine question about whether Africa’s growth can be sustained, and if so, at what level. I will look at this question from the lens of modern growth theory, paying particular attention to structural issues that are crucial for low-income countries. I come down on the pessimistic side, due to what I think are poor prospects for industrialization. Even if my discussion does not yield decisive answers, I hope it clarifies the issues.