World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data

World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data
Can Africa Catch Up?
Arne Bigsten
World Economics, June 2002

The trend towards globalization of the last few decades has been manifested in the sustained growth of world trade and flows of investment and technology. For most regions this growing integration has led to rapidly growing per capita incomes, while Africa has stagnated at the income level achieved about three decades ago. This paper shows that Africa is marginal to the world economy, but that the world economy is very important for Africa. In terms of openness to trade Africa closed up during the 1960s and 1970s, while it has been trying to open up since then. So far the results in terms of growth have been modest. The question posed here is whether Africa can effectively link up with the rest of the world and start a catch-up process, or whether marginalisation is inevitable.
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