Rise of the Rest: A Vision Deferred

Changing demographics and the commodities crash have slowed down the development of poorer countries.

Perhaps it all started with a turn in China’s demographics. Demand growth for commodities has declined sharply from recent years and has resulted in a crash of global prices. Copper is down 54% from its post 2008 peak and down 25% this year alone. Crude oil is down 67% and 39% in the same time spans. In addition to softer demand, prices were negatively impacted by jumps in supply, most notably from shale energy producers in the United States. Read more

Report: Africa’s Demographic Transition, Dividend or Disaster?

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 1.53.28 PMA recent report published jointly by the World Bank and by Agence Française de Développement highlights the challenge of realizing Africa’s promised demographic dividend. The title Africa’s Demographic Transition: Dividend or Disaster? (see footnote 1) sums up the authors’ thesis that the dividend is not an automatic result of falling fertility ratios (TFR).

Instead, falling TFRs open a window of opportunity which can lead to a demographic dividend when governments and the public sector implement the requisite steps to capitalize on this opportunity. Lower child mortality usually leads to falling fertility ratios and improvements in women’s health. But most important among concurrent or subsequent initiatives are investments in education, and the provision of sufficient jobs to a booming working-age population. Read more

Now a Trade Partnership with Africa?

A few days ago, the United States reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with eleven other nations (see list in tables below). Here is how the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) describes the TPP on its web page:

President Obama’s trade agenda is dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses. That’s why we are negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 21st century trade agreement that will boost U.S. economic growth, support American jobs, and grow Made-in-America exports to some of the most dynamic and fastest growing countries in the world.

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Tanzania Population 45 Million, Annual Growth 2.7%

The population of Tanzania grew by 10.5 million people in the last decade.  That is a 30.4% increase in ten years, or an annual rate of 2.7%, one of the highest in the world.

ROSE ATHUMANI writes in the TANZANIA DAILY NEWS, via ALLAFRICA.COM:

PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete announced the 2012 Population and Housing Census preliminary results showed that the population has reached 44,929,002 in total.

He said that the number of Mainlanders is 43,625,434 while that of Zanzibaris stands at 1,303,560. The last Population and Housing Census conducted in 2002 showed that the population was 34,443,603. President Kikwete noted that in the last ten years the population has increased by 10.5 million people.  READ MORE.

BBC: Is Dar es Salaam Africa’s next megacity?

Dar es Salaam is the largest city in Tanzania with a population estimated in 2009 at 3.2 million. Tanzania’s population of 44 million is forecast by the United Nations (medium variant scenario) to rise to 138 million by 2050. Its fertility ratio is 5.5 children per woman, one of the highest in the world.

JOE BOYLE writes in the BBC NEWS MAGAZINE:

BBC News, Dar es Salaam

Visionaries hope for a modern metropolis modelled on Singapore, but pessimists fear the emergence of another dirt-poor city of slums. Dar es Salaam is one of the world’s fastest growing cities, and it has reached its tipping point.

In the dark basement of the cavernous Kariakoo market, dozens of traders gather at tiny makeshift stalls, arranging fruit and vegetables into neat piles. This part of the market has the least sought-after plots, and all of the stallholders have one thing in common: none of them was born in Dar es Salaam.

Rolens Elias arrived seven years ago from a village near Morogoro, about 150km to the west. He had been a farmer but wanted to try his luck as a trader. He now makes about 3,000 shillings ($2; £1.50) each day selling tomatoes in the farthest corner of the basement.

“It has been hard to set up a life here,” he says. “I came here by myself and had to wait until I had enough money to bring my wife and family. We all live in one room, but it’s a better life than in the village.”

As he arranges his tomatoes, a group of his friends gather around and chip in with their own stories. They are all from Morogoro, and all came to Dar es Salaam in the hope of a better life. They all contrast the rural poverty they were born into with the lure of Dar es Salaam and its big-city opportunities. READ MORE.