By Edward Miguel
Edward Miguel, coauthor with Raymond Fisman of financial Gangsters: Corruption, Violence, and the Poverty of countries, is affiliate Professor of Economics and Director of the guts of Evalulations for international motion on the college of California, Berkeley.
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Extra info for Africa's Turn? (Boston Review Books)
But not so for Sudan, Chad, or their neighbors. Several leading international climate scientists predict that conditions will get worse in Africa’s Sahel, a parched stretch of earth containing Chad and Niger, as well as parts of Sudan, Mali, Senegal, and their neighbors. The Sahel is home to over one hundred million of the world’s poorest people. Average annual per capita income in the fifteen Sahelian countries is only $346, and the entire region is racked by political instability and warfare.
Africa provides bountiful profit opportunities across multiple economic sectors for Chinese firms flush with cash from their boundless growth at home. Chinese investors also have a major advantage over their Western counterparts in that they know how to make money in a developing-country business environment where the rule of law is optional, corruption and bribery are the norm, and infrastructure is patchy. Their experiences at home give them a big leg up on the competition. But the importing of Chinese business practices along with Chinese direct investment is not wholly positive for Africa.
It helps edward miguel maintain peace and prosperity in one small corner of sub-Saharan Africa. Other African countries at risk of drought could benefit by following in Botswana’s footsteps with similar programs. Unfortunately, the risk of drought might be increasing. Half a world away, China’s manufacturing boom may as well be on another planet but for one thing: the lives of African peasant farmers and Chinese factory workers—and everyone else on the globe—are connected by our collective effect on Earth’s climate.