Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Andrew Mwenda ― Inside Africa’s major contradiction

Why African elites sound angry and frustrated though continent’s economies grow faster than rest of the world

Andrew Mwenda is a Ugandan journalist, founder and owner of The Independent

Over the last decade and a half, Sub Sahara African economies have been growing fast and creating prosperity for many. Today, our continent is exporting and importing more and our governments, investors, and consumers are spending in per capita terms. Yet many African elites, especially the chattering classes on social media, sound angrier and frustrated.

This is partly because growth and the accompanying increase in personal incomes, comes with rapid urbanisation and expansion of education.

As I have written in this column before, urbanisation and education are liberating influences. They expose people to the world, expand their horizons, and grow their ambitions.   The effects of growth, therefore, are first felt in cities and among the educated. Cities offer opportunities for trade, jobs, and a good life. This pulls more people to partake of the opportunities. However, the rate at which people migrate to cities is always faster than the rate at which the economy creates opportunities.

The initial resulting mismatch between growth in aspirations and growth in available opportunities creates social frustration.

Read complete article here