On the richness of Africa
Type of work: Working Paper
This paper argues that there needs to be a shift in the balance of understandings of Africa from being a continent dominated by poverty to one that is instead conceptualised as being ‘rich’. It begins with an overview of arguments that seek to portray Africa as being poor, and then examines the interests that donors, African governments, the private sector, civil society and consultants all have in propagating such an image. In contrast, it then illustrates how Africa can instead be seen as being rich in terms of its mineral wealth, agricultural potential, culture, social and political institutions, and physical environment. It concludes by arguing that development initiatives that continue to seek to eliminate poverty in Africa will remain doomed to failure unless they refocus their attention on building upon the continent’s existing riches.