Wednesday, July 9, 2003

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How Africa can help itself

Given the spate of recent coverage about Africa's political, economic, and humanitarian woes, it's worth pointing out Botswana as a clear success story. Canada's Fraser Institute just released its 2003 annual report on economic freedom of the world. In their press release, they point out the following:

The least economically free nations tend to be clustered in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. "But, even here exceptions show the power of economic freedom," says McMahon.

"Botswana has long had significantly higher levels of economic freedom than other sub-Saharan African nations and this is demonstrated by how much better off the people of Botswana have become compared to the citizens of other African nations," he explains.

In 1970, Botswana's per capital GDP was US$590, less than the sub-Saharan average of US$609. After three decades of relatively high economic freedom, Botswana's per capita GDP rose to US$3,950 while in the rest of Africa, where economic freedom levels were dismal, per capita GDP shrunk to US$564.

In the 2003 report, Botswana has the 26th highest level of economic freedom, tied with eight other nations including Japan and Norway.

Foreign aid and preferential trade agreements can help African countries, but only if they also help themselves.

posted by Dan on 07.09.03 at 03:21 PM