There’s an interesting article comparing the development of Asia and Africa in The Liberal, a new UK magazine. It suggets that Africa once set the standard for Asian countries to aspire to:
IN 1962, when the World Bank extended its first development loan to South Korea, the bank’s directors famously asked their researcher whether there was any chance of this impoverished and war-torn country ever catching up with the living standards of such wealthy African countries as the newly liberated republics of Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, with their huge endowments of gold, oil, diamonds and forest products. Today, South Korea’s national income per head is 35 times higher than Ghana’s and three times that of Africa’s richest country, Botswana. Meanwhile, China, which as recently as 25 years ago was less prosperous than even the poorest African nations, now has an economy five times larger than the entire African continent.
Why have almost no African countries managed to achieve the sustained economic development which has lifted billions of people out of extreme poverty in east Asia?
The author’s answer: war, corruption, the curse of natural resources and China.
The Liberal has only been around for a few issues but Slavoj Zizek has already written for them. I believe that will soon be mandatory by law for all new cultural magazines.