n AfricaGrowth Agenda - How many monies does Africa need?

Volume 2009, Issue 7
  • ISSN : 1811-5187


Despite Africa's great diversity of culture and languages, many Africans identify themselves as Africans first, then as Congolese, Kenyans, Nigerians, South Africans, and so forth. Most Europeans, North Americans, and Asians have it the other way round : country first, then continent. Even so, national boundaries within Africa are generally less open than those within Europe due to a variety of legal and regulatory restrictions that hamper the crossborder flow of goods, energy, services, capital, and labor. Many of these restrictions need to be relaxed to spur growth. For example, a pan-African energy grid could greatly reduce the cost of energy across the continent and make air conditioning affordable to vastly larger numbers of households and businesses. The taming of the Congo River with one-sixth of the world's harnessable hydroenergy potential promises to deliver inexpensive power, through three electricity superhighways: south to Angola, Botswana, and South Africa, west toward Nigeria, and north to Egypt and even Europe. In his memoirs, The Singapore Story (1998), Lee Kwan Yew, former Prime Minster of Singapore, describes how air conditioning catapulted his country to prosperity when the stifling heat gave way to cool air indoors. But we digress.

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