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African Notes

Sep 30, 2011 • Demand, Supply, and Markets, Developing Economies, International Trade and Finance, Labor, Macroeconomic Measurement • 164 Views    No Comments

  • If you were asked to select the world’s fastest growing economies, maybe you would place China at the top of your list.  This Economist Daily Chart sums it all up. 6 of the world’s fastest growing economies, 2001-2010, are located in sub-Saharan Africa. And Angola is #1.
  • Here, showing the growth of small-scale manufacturing in Africa, the WSJ focuses on a chocolate maker in Madagascar. Among the best in the world, the cocoa is premium. However, the transportation and communication infrastructures sound tough. Just getting a cell signal near one chocolate factory required walking to the top of a hill, 3 miles away. It echoes what Professor Timothy Taylor says in his Teaching Company lectures on Africa (#19 and #20) for “America and the New Global Economy.” (The course is excellent.).
  • And finally, back to the Big Mac Index. The only African country listed is South Africa where a $4.07 U.S. Big Mac costs $2.87.

The Economic Lesson

African economic development returns me to a wonderful econtalk lecture on Adam Smith and David Ricardo.  It takes us to the economies of scale that a larger market can facilitate. Then, as Smith and Ricardo told us, with specialization and trade everyone becomes more productive.

How then to facilitate the growth of small African factories through world trade?

The Economic Question: Looking at the Economist Chart on the world’s economic growth, you might check the GDP of Angola to see how its size compares to #2, China, with a GDP of $10.1 trillion (2010 US dollars).

 

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