Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic success story

Robert Maynard

In March of 2013, TNR introdced an exciting effort going on in developing countries to deal with the issue of poverty.  A film was made on this effort entitled “PovertyCure: From Aid to Enterprise.”  As a follow up, we now want to present our readers with a look at an economic success story in what has historically been one of the poorest regions on the planet: Sub-Saharan Africa:

“Thank goodness people are ‘exploiting’ Africa by buying things from it, by investing in it, by employing people in it,” says Leon Louw, author, policy analyst, and executive director the South Africa-based think tank The Free Market Foundation. “The worst thing that would happen is if people decide to stop exploiting Africa.”

The statement might sound provocative, but Louw is responding to a pair of critiques he hears often: That economic development is akin to exploitation and that the gap between rich and poor is growing dangerously large. But Louw says that the focus on economic inequality is a distraction from a more important metric.

“The world is experiencing the most amazing accomplishment of humanity: The virtual elimination of poverty,” says Louw. “It’s strange that as that happens, we are talking about it as if there is more of it.”

Reason TV’s Zach Weissmueller interviewed Louw about how his anti-Apartheid activism turned him from a Marxist into a libertarian, the factors driving Africa’s incredible growth, the lessons other countries can learn from Botswana, South Africa, and even Rwanda, and how mobile phones and digital currencies are changing life in the developing world.