The Africa Rising Narrative - Whither development?

McKenzie, Rex A. (2016) The Africa Rising Narrative - Whither development? (Discussion Paper) Kingston upon Thames, U.K. : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Kingston University. 19 p. (Economics Discussion Paper, no. 2016-09)


Over the last ten years the mainstream press have put together an Africa Rising narrative which tells us that because of a series of “good” governance reforms and more responsible economic management (by technocratic and not ideological leaders), African countries have managed to transform their economies into growing vibrant engines of growth. Robust growth rates that averaged 5.8% a year between 2002 and 2012 formed the basis of expectations that there was more to come. In 2011 The Economist (Dec 3rd) reported that, after decades of slow growth ‘Africa now has the real chance to follow Asia in embarking on fast growth in a very short period.’ After years of repose - Africa was rising. Basing its predictions on data from the IMF, The Economist (ibid) declared that Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zambia would be among this decade’s star performers. Recent events (like Ghana’s 2015 IMF bailout) may have dented the narrative but it persists because although Africa’s 2015 GDP declined 1.2% to 3.4% from 4.6% in 2014, it is still among the fastest growing regions in world. There is clearly a huge disconnect between the narrative and the images of African migrants risking life and limb to get away from Africa and into Europe. This article explores the sources of the disconnect and evaluates the narrative. How and why did The Economist (and others in the media and the economics profession) manage to put forward the bold claim that the 21st Century belonged to Africa?

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page