TO CLUELESS MEDIA: PRES. OBAMA’S IN AFRICA ‘CUZ IT HAS TOP TEN FASTEST GROWING ECONOMIES IN WORLD
“THERE is no shortage of economic growth in Africa. Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. A clutch of countries have enjoyed growth in income per person of more than 5% a year since 2007.”
Nothing demonstrates the vapidity of the corporate media than the rancid ignorance they display when they are gung-ho to score cheap shots at President Obama on important matters, rather than do basic research!!!
And so it is that on Pres. Obama undertaking a long overdue working visit to three countries on the continent of Africa, the corporate media including FOXNews universe display once again the national embarrassment that they have become. But for the fact that they’d bleat about threats to their “First Amendment Rights”, I’d rather Pres Obama left them behind to indulge in muffin stories and similar shiny objects they chase best. Foreign media ALWAYS outshine ours anyway, so their absence would actually improve the media pool at these foreign pressers. And the public would be better informed for it.
So cynical journos like David Nakamura of @WAPO , and colleagues at AtlanticWire @NYT , Moonie News, @ABC, @NBC, @MSNBC, @CBS, @CNN, @FOX, @YahooNews, here are 12 FACTS to get into their heads before they utter any more inanities about the President’s trip to Africa, and carping endlessly about “costs of trip” versus sequestered White House tours. Without the 80% of Coltan produced from the Congo belt running your iPhone/iPad or other tablet LED screens, they’d be pecking away at an old typewriter (well, assuming even the steel in the machine’s housing isn’t from African iron ore).
We are talking about Africa in the 21st Century, not some Henry Stanley 19th century racist travelogue you read about “natives doing quaint tribal dances”, or as the late Literary maestro Chinua Achebe snarkily penned at the end of his seminal novel Things Fall Apart, the colonizer’s version of history in which the indigenous African only warrants a passing line about his own history. No we are talking about a forward moving continent, warts and all that brooks no nonsense from anybody, superpower or not!
To be honest President Obama’s travel to the continent of Africa is at best being perceived as a face-saving effort, as many on the continent are not impressed with the scant attention he has paid to African countries. The most favorable observation is that at least he has left the continent alone to chart its own course without the undue meddling of Cold War America or condescending administrations that followed the collapse of the battle between superpowers.
While there is some loud grumbling about the fact that America’s obsession with the “War on Terror” and recent variations in the Maghreb (Libya, Algeria, Tunisia), Sahel (Mali) occludes every other subject during bilateral and multilateral talks
If many of you remember, President Obama promised to engage actively with the continent’s innovative thinkers during the seminal White House Townhall with Young African Leaders
Many had anticipated greater engagement not of a paternalistic relationship but a partnership. Of course POTUS has been busy putting out America’s many “fires”. This is the Africa he’s visiting during this trip.
So here, I’ve pre-chewed the FACTS about the continent of Africa for the media. They can freely take from this post what they want (even if they don’t give credit), but by golly serve the country for once and give the public FACTUAL INFORMATION!
1. Seven of top 10 fastest growing economies over the past 5 years are in Africa.
And within the continent these are the rankings
Headlines in the investor world blare:
“Surprise! Africa’s Fastest-Growing Foreign Direct Investor Is Now…Africa”
Earnst and young last month was hyping the investor opportunities like the last race for Wall Street bubbles, except the underlying fundamentals are solid with African economies
“Despite the impact of the ongoing global economic situation, the size of the African economy has more than tripled since 2000. The outlook also appears positive, … expected to grow by 4% for 2013 and 4.6% for 2014. A number of African economies are predicted to remain among the fastest growing in the world for the foreseeable future…Eighty-six percent of those with an established presence on the continent believe that Africa’s attractiveness as a place to do business will continue to improve. Those surveyed rank Africa as the second most attractive regional investment destination in the world after Asia.”
2. Second Scramble for Africa is underway and US has been left behind . China buying up African resources and futures like there’s no tomorrow. Brazil gaining up on China, and India a close 2nd. As Peter Bergen notes :
“China’s economic rise is particularly marked in Africa; it quietly surpassed the United States as the continent’s largest trading partner four years ago….Sino-African trade is now estimated to be $200 billion a year and is expected to rise to $325 billion in the next two years.”
Africans could care less whether the US comes or not. So shocking as it might seem to David Nakamura the world does NOT REVOLVE around backward American teabaggers!
3. African stock Markets Outperform leading global stock markets . Last year, if you invested in Ghana stocks your portfolio saw 49.9% growth. Yes you read that right FORTY_NINE point NINE PERCENT growth. And not a fluke. This year-to-date it’s 53.2%
The Ethiopian stock Market was the best performing in the world last year and the year before
Several African stock markets are seeing huge returns this year. Though small, Ghana’s stock market is up more than 50% so far in 2013, one of the world’s top performers. Kenya — up 35% — has been touching record highs all year. Nigeria is also up 35% on the year
5. Africans’ cash remittances outweigh Western foreign Aid and outstrip direct foreign investment
“In 2010 – the most recent year for which meaningful comparisons can be made, according to Mr Bodomo – the African diaspora remitted $51.8bn (£34bn) to the continent…In the same year, according to World Bank figures, ODA to Africa was $43bn (£28bn).”
7. Leap-frog technology:
Africans are very sophisticated users of mobile phones compared to US. Used for innovative business and entrepreneurial solutions .
Farmers forecasting commodity markets. Person to person cash transfers, distance education, democratic governance.
8. Well-Being indices outpace projections even in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone that were embroiled in brutal civil wars
9. Contemporary African Immigrants in the US number just 1.6 million (about 4% of foreign born population)
They rank as top recruits and performers at Ivy league schools – about some 30-40%. Contemporary African immigrants and progeny are the most educated among US immigrant groups
10. Cultural industry of music and film is the most vibrant. Nollywood is second only to Bollywood in number of films produced (will write about this in a separate expanded post)
By the way I hope the anklebiters mumbling about wasteful African trips have not forgotten these facts about Bush’s retinue:
I will do a post on Friday detailing specifics about the 3 countries President Obama is visiting, which I have incidentally visited/lived in extensively myself, so I’ll do both personal insights and researched data.