"Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have weathered the global crisis better than expected…The region appears to be staging a robust recovery."
-The World Bank, 2011

Head Line A boom in sub-Saharan Africa is attracting business talent from the rich world
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The Economist, Oct 20, 2012: ... In recent years investors have been piling into Lagos and Nairobi as if they were Frankfurt and Tokyo of old. Anaemic growth in the rich world has made sub-Saharan Africa an attractive destination for money and its managers. Foreign direct investment has increased by about 50% since 2005. Once regarded as casinos, local capital markets now seem less risky. J.P. Morgan has just added Nigeria to its government-bond index for emerging markets; South Africa had hitherto been the only African country on its list. The American bank, the world’s biggest underwriter of emerging-market debt, predicts that adding Nigerian bonds to its benchmark will lure an extra $1.5 billion to the country. New funds will pay for so far non-existent infrastructure on a continent with a land mass equivalent to that of China, India, Japan, America, Mexico and Europe combined (see map).

Some business people remain sceptical about Africa’s long-term prospects. Sales blather in Western financial circles hailing an African “golden age” is overblown. Most Africans are still poor, even if local managers drive flashy cars. A gaggle of truly wretched states is still trapped in misery and is unlikely to attain even modest prosperity soon. A recent survey found that nine out of 11 countries in the world at “extreme risk” of having a food crisis are African.

But even the sceptics accept that the latest outlook for Africa is good. The IMF says the continent’s GDP will grow by 5% this year, down from a predicted 5.4% but still much faster than almost anywhere else. In 2013 growth may nudge up to 5.7%. Further economic problems in the rich world could hit South Africa, but countries to its north are still likely to do well.

A new research paper by two World Bank economists says that if Africa were one country it would already be “middle income”, defined by the bank as having income per person of more than $1,000. Africa’s average is $1,700. In sub-Saharan Africa 22 countries have passed this admittedly still quite low middle-income threshold. Together, their population is 400m; they include odd cases such as Angola and Sudan, which were both ravaged by years of bloodshed until recently and where inequality is rife.