In the Balance

Africa: The Commodity Curse Returns

June 17, 2017

Sharp falls in commodity prices have dealt serious blows to the prospects of workers, communities, and businesses in large parts of Africa over the last few years. The World Bank said economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa slumped to its lowest level for more than two decades last year and earlier this month South Africa, the continent’s third largest economy, re-entered recession. The picture is not uniformly bleak – the outlook is much more positive in East Africa – but the continent’s largest economies are suffering. Can they turn things around and end their reliance on oil and mining? What hope is there for those seeking relief from poverty, and what jobs might they do in the future? Ed Butler is joined by a panel of guests: Kola Karim, CEO of Shoreline Group, a Nigerian energy and infrastructure company; professor Mthuli Ncube, head of Quantum Global Research Lab and former chief economist of the African Development Bank; and Lorenzo Fioramonti, professor of political economy at the University of Pretoria, in South Africa. (Picture: Women fill wheelbarrows with coal in South Africa. Credit: Marco Longari, Getty Images)

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