Economist Debate: Africa’s Rise
On Tuesday, a two-week-long Debate on The Economist’s website started. Topic: “How real is the rise of Africa?”
The Debates adapt the Oxford style of debating to an online forum: A proposer defends an assertion, an opponent assails it in three moderated stages – opening, rebuttal and closing. Between the three rounds, experts on the issue comment (not necessarily choosing a side), and the readers are invited to share their thoughts and vote on whether they agree with the motion.
After issues like Business adaptation to Change, or Fracking, the motion defended by Wolfgang Fengler, Lead Economist at World Bank in Nairobi is:
We cannot equate development with manufacturing. There are several ways to achieve prosperity. A strong manufacturing sector is one way but not the only one.
His opponent, Development Consultant Rick Rowden, states:
I do not see how Africa can become the next global economic powerhouse unless it embarks on a serious programme of industrialisation, as have other developed economies.
At the moment, 57% of the voters agree with the motion, i.e. they think that Africa’s rise is sustainable and will continue. The Debate will be going on until March 20, with a post-debate conclusion from Oliver August, The Economist’s Africa Editor, on March 22. Kole Shettima from the Centre for Democracy and Development and Speakers’ Corner Nigeria already commented, next up is Charles Robertson, Clobal Chief Economist at Renaissance Capital.