Africa lags behind most of the world in practically all indicators of human well-being, including longevity, infant mortality, HIV, malaria and tuberculosis occurrence, nourishment, school enrolment, long-term economic growth, and income per capita. The ability of the United States to help Africa is limited because most of Africa’s development problems are caused by domestic factors requiring domestic solutions. Those problems are extensive and have been aggravated by arbitrary and authoritarian rule, which has been the norm for most of Africa’s independence. Centralized political control has undermined political stability, the rule of law, the security of individuals, the protection of private property, and growth.

As long as its economic freedom remains low, Africa’s economic performance will continue to disappoint. Similarly, African countries are unlikely to escape poverty as long as their governments remain unaccountable and their actions arbitrary. Unfortunately, there is little the United States can do to positively influence the evolution of Africa’s governing institutions and the policies that African countries adopt.

More on Sub-Saharan Africa

Commentary

African Dawn Needs the Rule of Law

By Marian L. Tupy. BDlive. May 25, 2015.

Attacking Low-Tax Jurisdictions Will Not Help Africa’s Growth

By Marian L. Tupy. Cayman Financial Review. January 30, 2015.

African Economic Reform

By Michael D. Tanner. National Review (Online). August 6, 2014.

Cato Studies

Misallocation, Property Rights, and Access to Finance: Evidence from within and across Africa

By Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan and Bent E. Sørensen. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 7. August 6, 2014.

Sustaining the Economic Rise of Africa

By Marian L. Tupy and Dalibor Rohac. Economic Development Bulletin No. 22. August 1, 2014.

Zimbabwe: Why Is One of the World’s Least-Free Economies Growing So Fast?

By Craig J. Richardson. Policy Analysis No. 722. March 18, 2013.

Articles

How to Kill Zimbabwe’s Hyperinflation

Steve H. Hanke. Global Dialogue. August 2008.

Public Filings

Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum

By Ilya Shapiro and Anastasia Killian. Legal Briefs. February 3, 2012.

Zimbabwe: From Crisis to Renewal

By Marian L. Tupy. Testimony. December 2, 2010.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Events

The Global Village Myth: Distance, War, and the Limits of Power

Featuring Justin Logan. May 26, 2015. Book Forum.

South Africa: The Next Ten Years

Featuring Marian L. Tupy. May 4, 2015. Policy Forum.

Cry the Beloved Country: South Africa’s Future under the ANC

Featuring Marian L. Tupy. March 14, 2013. Policy Forum.