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TRL: The times they are a-changin’

Gone are the days when the Western collective could claim moral and financial superiority in the world economy. Africa currently has seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies, and its developments in ICT, infrastructure and business environment, among others, are making traditional donors and aid modalities obsolete. Below are a few recent articles on the unfolding ‘new world order’.

1. Why Africa is leaving Europe behind – Financial Times

“Africans are relishing something of a reversal in roles. The former colonial powers in Europe are wrestling with debt crises, austerity budgets, rising unemployment and social turmoil. By contrast much of sub-Saharan Africa can point to robust growth, better balanced books and rising capital inflows. There is an opportunity in this novel scenario: for Africa to assert itself on the global stage, and for European countries to take advantage of their historic footprint in Africa by stimulating commercial expansion to their south. But it is far from clear either side will grasp it.”

2. New sources of aid: charity begins abroad – The Economist

“The big unresolved question for the new donors, argues Duncan Green, head of research at Oxfam, an NGO, is how far they adopt the policies and institutions of Western donors or how far they go their own way, blurring boundaries between aid and investment. There have been one or two nods towards Western ideas recently. The BRICs are giving more through multilateral channels, moving away from their usual government-to-government help. China’s white paper uses Western-style language about “increasing recipient countries’ capacity”. But by and large the new donors think their model of giving aid is better. As their contributions soar and Western ones stagnate or shrivel, the aid world is seeing genuine competition.”

3. Free press and corruption: Cameron lectures Africa – Pambazuka News

“UK Prime Minister David Cameron may want to get his own house in order before lecturing African leaders…” (funny cartoon!)

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