Saturday, February 25, 2012

BUILDING THE AFRICAN HOPES

BUILDING THE AFRICAN HOPES

BUILDING THE AFRICAN HOPES
"We lost the 20th century." Thus the opinion of one of the leading thinkers of Nigeria. Economic conditions of many African countries is very underdeveloped. Social indicators, which are generally closely related to the level of economic progress, also showed their backwardness. In the center of this situation, African countries more debt complicates the process of economic reform that has always echoed by almost all parties, including the World Bank and IMF.
Many international agencies are trying to find a way out, even the "south", including Indonesia, are also trying to help. Indeed the greater world attention, although also frustrated that appears no less magnitude. It's no coincidence that the current President of the World Bank, so his position immediately make first visit to this continent. Merely symbolic? Maybe yes maybe no.


Many of the strategies and policies that have been submitted to governments in Africa. There are good suggestions, based on in-depth study and incorporating public input Africans themselves, but also not the least suggestion that abstract technocratic world of African reality. But the fact remains that in the last decade is not a lot of results achieved. For some, this source of frustration, but for other, more patience is required. The argument of the optimists: an important policy direction is justified, and to see the results we need more patience to wait.
BUILDING THE AFRICAN HOPES
Is it so grim situation in Africa? Non-economic elements of a very large role to answer this question. Inter-tribal conflicts taking place, the motive for the sake of building a state, not tribal, and territorial interests, is still minimal, and the level of corruption is rampant. Nobel literature prize winner of Nigeria, Wole Soyinka, even thought that the people there are "morally bankrupt". Before the element of this element is resolved, it is difficult to put forward propositions of economic improvement. Similarly, the majority of expert opinion, including foreigners, who never asked to give advice to African governments. Is it true that this kind of opinion? Is not that a kind of implicit admission that economics can not solve social problems in Africa?

However, Nigeria is an exception, so it can not be used as standard. Since the 1974 oil boom, the more it is clear that these natural resources is more of a curse than a blessing for them.

Actually, for Africa there is one thing that is quite encouraging. Though not all, most countries in the continent began to show improvement in the macroeconomic field. Economic reform program since the 1980s they did begin to show results. However, unfortunately the continuation of macroeconomic improvement has not been reflected in many aspects of community life, especially those who are poor and do not live in urban areas. This is a classic example of the gap between micro-economic indicators and symptoms.
BUILDING THE AFRICAN HOPES
There are two or three examples of countries that bear the title of their success in macro-economic. Ghana one of them. In recent years, precisely since the "Economic Recovery Program" launched in 1983, Ghana's economic growth reached an average of 5% per annum, a figure which is considered high for Africa. Nothing odd about these achievements. We all, especially from the Asia Pacific region, already familiar with the indicators that usually accompany such success: an increasingly open economy (exports and imports in the GDP share of Ghana rose from 32% in 1986 to 55% in 1994), the greater the role of the private sector, and process of structural change from agriculture to industry is also going fast.

Implications of growth is not too surprising. Levels of poverty in Ghana fell from 37% in 1987 to 32% in 1991, and the repair process of this kind occurs in both urban and rural areas.

However, also according to our estimates, the reform program that generates growth and poverty reduction is followed by the unequal distribution of income. Improvement of social infrastructure, such as health and education, not much felt by the poorest groups, because most facilities are located in urban areas.

Examples of "success" else happening in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Economic growth in the former French colony is even higher than that of Ghana, between 6% to 7%. Condition of physical infrastructure, at least viewed from buildings and road conditions, quite impressive (according to the size of Africa). However, at the same time we are also to be able to capture the conditions of underdevelopment: there is no sense of order! Go to the store, we can also see that the type of goods sold is consistent with the level of per-capita income of those who are still low.

As in other poor countries, many government programs aimed at poverty reduction. In Ivory Coast, this is done through a program they called "Social Funds" (SF), where small loans are given light to open a business, but the proposed requirements do not apply too tight and with a very minimal administration. Approximately similar to the SF program combined IDT and KUK concept in Indonesia.

How does the SF? Not too surprising: less on target! Extreme example, one project that the authors use the SF to visit the trade activities. But, oddly enough funds are used to import luxury faucets from Italy and sold in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's largest city. It is clear that the commodity has nothing to do with the poor, and the recipient of SF was not classified as poor. There are many similar cases that we met from the project financed by the SF.

Examples of Ghana and Ivory Coast in the classified examples of "successful" according to the size of Africa. Can imagine how the situation in other African countries.

The role of the former colonial government did not always positive. For example, in the framework of the privatization program, the Ivory Coast government decided to increase their telecom sector. In accordance with the advice of international institutions, the privatization process should be through open bidding. The result? Malaysia's first winner of the telecoms industry, followed by AT & T from the U.S., and the company of French number three. In fact, through the "pressure" the French company that won the third.

What about education? The state of education in Africa is quite sad. As an illustration, the ratio of primary school age children who really school (school enrollment ratio, or SER) is not only low but continues to fall in the last decade. In 1980, the average SER Africa 80.8%, and in 1993 only 72%. View statistics SER throughout the world, including developing countries, generally there is always an increase in SER, but Africa was an exception. The latest data show that in 1995 was about 40 million children in Africa who never been to school.

What is education so important? The expert can provide a wide range of arguments about the importance of other elements, not just education. But, generally all agreed that the matter can not be bargained education as a requirement for a society to progress. Just as an illustration, the 1960 (or 35 years ago), SER Japan was 100%, and in the late 1980s all the countries in the Asia Pacific region has reached 100%. The result? East Asian Miracle, which is actually not a miracle at all. On the other hand, India has a poor track record in terms of SER. Still about 50% of India's population have never enjoyed an elementary education at all. The result? Compare the economic growth of India and Asia Pacific.

Back to Africa, with a very low level of education, many are then asked: whether the liberalization of trade and economic policies can help them? What does the WTO, free trade and deregulation for them? How could the people of which 60% to 70% was never able to enjoy the school or to contribute to the process of economic liberalization? Voice and this kind of question you hear a lot of different layers of society in Africa, including the intellectuals (students, professors and researchers).

So what? From any angle, it is difficult to expect that improvements in Africa's economic reforms (including trade liberalization, privatization, etc.) do not do them. However, how might the impact of reforms enjoyed by most of society (which is still poor)? Generally, the proposed solution, including the World Bank, is: do reforms selectively, by selecting the type of deregulation that would benefit the community much faster. That is, there is the realization that if the reform program does not give quick results, the support and participation of the program will disappear, and if it's already happened, can be politically difficult for anyone who reigned for continuing improvement program.

Looking cynicism towards society in Africa program of economic liberalization, including of the intelligentsia, as easy as looking for the African population that does not work (unemployed). Almost everywhere there.
BUILDING THE AFRICAN HOPES
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