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Learning about Economic Development from Africa

Douglas Rimmer
African Affairs
Vol. 102, No. 408 (Jul., 2003), pp. 469-491
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal African Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3518747
Page Count: 23
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Learning about Economic Development from Africa
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Abstract

This article reviews the author's acquaintance with the literature of economic development, with particular reference to Africa, over the last 50 years. The belief that this development is propelled by the supply of capital, effectively of international aid, is criticized, and emphasis put instead on the effective demand for capital. This demand has been low in Africa; hence much capital investment has been of low or no productivity, and aid has generally failed to fulfil expectations. Aid continues nonetheless, since it serves donor as well as recipient interests and political opposition to it is weak. Free trade and free migration would be more effective means of raising African living standards but, in contrast to aid, they do encounter strong political opposition, in the one case from producer interests, in the other from nationalist ideology and racial bigotry.

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