The new scramble for Africa

018 精读 | 《经济学人》非洲新抢夺战(1)

019 精读 | 《经济学人》非洲新抢夺战(2)



Even so, Africans can do more to increase their share of the benefits. First, voters and activists can insist on transparency. It is heartening that South Africa is investigating the allegedly crooked deals struck under the previous president, Jacob Zuma, but alarming that even worse behaviour in the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone unprobed, and that the terms of loans to some dangerously indebted African governments are secret. To be sure that a public deal is good for ordinary folk as well as big men, voters have to know what is in it. Journalists, such as the Kenyans who exposed scandals over a railway project, have a big role to play.

即便如此,非洲人仍可以做得更多,以增加他们从中获得的利益。第一,选民和活动人士要坚持[ insist on](选票)透明度。鼓舞人心的[heartening]是,南非正在调查前总统雅各布·祖玛执政期间达成的涉嫌欺诈的交易,但令人担忧[alarming]的是,刚果民主共和国更恶劣的行为尚未被调查,向一些负债严重的非洲国家政府提供贷款的条款是保密的。为了确保一项公共协议对普通民众[folk]和大人物都有好处,选民们必须知道协议的内容。比如揭露铁路项目丑闻的肯尼亚记者,将扮演重要角色。

Second, Africa’s leaders need to think more strategically. Africa may be nearly as populous as China, but it comprises 54 countries, not one. African governments could strike better deals if they showed more unity. No one expects a heterogeneous continent that includes both anarchic battle zones and prosperous democracies to be as integrated as Europe. The power imbalance between, say, China and Uganda is huge. It could be reduced somewhat with a free-trade area or if African regional blocs clubbed together. After all, the benefits of infrastructure projects spill across borders.


Third, African leaders do not have to choose sides, as they did during the cold war. They can do business with Western democracies and also with China and Russia—and anyone else with something to offer. Because they have more choice now than ever before, Africans should be able to drive harder bargains. And outsiders should not see this as a zero-sum contest (as the Trump administration, when it pays attention to Africa, apparently does). If China builds a bridge in Ghana, an American car can drive over it. If a British firm invests in a mobile-data network in Kenya, a Kenyan entrepreneur can use it to set up a cross-border startup.


Last, Africans should take what some of their new friends tell them with a pinch of salt. Democracy is a Western idea; development requires a firm hand. This message no doubt appeals to African strongmen, but it is bunk. A study by Takaaki Masaki of the World Bank and Nicolas van de Walle of Cornell University found that African countries grow faster if they are more democratic. The good news is that, as education improves and Africans move rapidly to the cities, they are growing more critical of their rulers, and less frightened to say so. In 1997, 70% of African ruling parties won more than 60% of the vote, partly by getting rural chiefs to cow villagers into backing them. By 2015 only 50% did. As politics grows more competitive, voters’ clout will grow. And they will be able to insist on a form of globalisation that works for Africans and foreigners alike.

最后,非洲人应该对一些新朋友告诉他们的事情有所保留[with a pinch of salt]。民主是西方的理念;发展需要坚定的决心。这一信息无疑对非洲铁腕人物很有吸引力,但这是一派胡言。世界银行的高崎雅明和康奈尔大学的尼古拉斯·范德沃勒进行的一项研究发现,如果非洲国家更加民主,经济增长就会更快。好消息是,随着教育水平的提高和非洲人迅速向城市迁移,他们对统治者的批评也越来越多,害怕说出批评言论的人越来越少。1997年,70%的非洲执政党赢得了超过60%的选票,部分原因是通过让农村领导人胁迫村民支持他们。到2015年,这一比例仅为50%。随着政治竞争的加剧,选民的影响力将会增强。他们将能够坚持一种对非洲人和外国人都有效的全球化形式。

Last modification:April 24th, 2019 at 06:53 pm
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