Can Africa Catch Up?
Published: 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.