Book Chapter
Development and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa

When it comes to reporting on Africa, the international news media has, over time, delivered very mixed messages. Yet there are still many who characterize sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as a region of hunger, economic crisis, and political unrest.

Over the years, generalizations about the region have included claims that: African economies cannot grow sustainably; no progress has been made in education and health; natural resource-rich countries will be forever cursed by their resource wealth; corruption is rampant and irreversible; conflict is inherent to the region. And, lastly, SSA is aid-dependent to the point that development is a lost cause.

At the same time, when one takes a somewhat longer-term perspective, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic about the region’s development progress.

There has also been some luck. The region has, over much of the time since 2000, successfully ridden the commodities super-cycle driven by rapid and sustained growth in emerging economies, notably in China.