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Slate: Out of Africa?

Author: Francis Fukuyama
May 4, 2009

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Francis Fukuyama, the director of the Johns Hopkins International Development Program, reviews two books on the faulty management of foreign aid to Africa.

Excerpt: Between 2002 and 2008, sub-Saharan Africa started growing again, buoyed like much of the rest of the world by the global commodity boom and Chinese investment. Thus ended one of the most dismaying periods in the continent's recent history, a generationlong stretch during which most countries in the region saw per capita incomes fall, sometimes to levels not experienced since the end of colonialism.

The turnaround signals the possibility of new opportunities for Africans, yet the past year's astonishing drop in commodity prices as a result of the global recession suggests how fragile that upswing is. Nor is it clear that a political corner has been turned.

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