On May 24, the latest African Economic Outlook was published by the African Development Bank. A key finding is that African countries raise less in taxation than those elsewhere at similar stages of development, making African countries more dependent on foreign aid than necessary. (Note: almost every country in Africa has a low tax/GDP ratio. If low taxes were the primary key to growth then Africa would be far richer than it is.)
An article in the May issue of The Economic Journal argues that civil wars in Africa, which have killed more than four million people since 1945, are primarily caused by downturns in commodity prices.
On April 10, the IMF published a report on Sub-Saharan Africa. It notes that Africa was largely shielded from the sharp economic downturn that primarily affected developed countries. It expects growth to more than double to 4.75 percent this year from two percent last year.
Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He blogs daily and writes a weekly column at The Fiscal Times. Read his most recent column here. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006).