Fool’s Gold

Check out this article of mine that ran in Foreign Policy on the peril’s of oil development in Africa:

July 2007
Fool’s Gold
You may not have noticed it, but Africa is booming. Yet just when the world’s poorest continent is finally starting to see real economic growth, the resource curse threatens to snatch it all away.

By Stephan Faris

Things seem to be looking up for Africa these days, and especially in sub-Saharan Africa. For the third year in a row, the region’s economy has grown 5 to 6 percent. The recent commodity boom has improved its allure to potential investors, particularly China. And the world is relying increasingly on the continent’s petroleum; last year, Africa surpassed the Middle East to become the largest exporter of crude oil to the United States, providing 22 percent of imports. Even everyday African citizens, their views usually lost amid gloomy economic statistics, are feeling better about their lot in life. A recent poll conducted by the New York Times and the Pew Global Attitudes Project found that most sub-Saharan Africans say they are better off than they were five years ago, and that life will continue to improve for the next generation. They’re right, at least for the near future. Economists predict that economic growth will inch up to 7 percent in 2007, mostly because of higher production in oil-rich countries.

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