Climate change will devastate Africa without substantial help from the world community, according to a new report released at the opening of a major U.N. climate change conference in Nairobi, Kenya Monday.
Africa is a mess and it’s not going to get better any time soon. That’s the awful truth that’s so hard to face — or to state publicly — for those of us who have had a long, intimate relationship with the continent. Mine has lasted for almost forty-five years. But from the very start, my experiences in Africa began conflicting with my hopes, indicating trouble afoot, foretelling that our utopian dreams were going to lead to crushing disappointments. Of course, we should have known what the entire twentieth century taught: that all utopian dreams fail, not least those wrapped in progressive rhetoric. Still, the reality in so much of Africa has been infinitely more appalling than anything we might have feared.
The direct rationale of why Africa may have a comparative advantage in production and trade of innovative goods is beguilingly simple. High quality educational skills are rather easier to acquire and maintain in the region than physical capital. The institutional and economic environment can put non-mobile capital at risk and may make acquisition of foreign spare parts difficult. Goods which have a high level of technical knowledge compared to physical capital are likely to be favoured. The argument is one based on comparative, not absolute, advantage. A developed country may innovate more cost-effectively than much of Africa, but in terms of the relative prices of innovative and capital intensive goods, the region has the advantage.
The poorest people in the world will be the chief victims of the West's failure to tackle global warning, with millions of Africans forecast to die by the end of the century, Christian Aid says in a report out today.