Monday, May 21, 2007

Africa needs to thicken its skin

Business Day: ...Beyond the known risks to Africa’s growth and prosperity, Africa is increasingly exposed to global risks that originate outside the continent but which can have powerful effects on it.

And it is these risks, some of which are the flipside of integration into an increasingly prosperous world economy, which Africa is not yet well equipped to mitigate and manage. If these global risks are not dealt with, Africa’s renaissance may turn out to be built on shaky ground.

Three bear closer attention: climate change, terrorism and an asset-price collapse.

The first of these, climate change, may be the silent killer of the 21st century. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report should leave no doubt. Water stress is set to increase, agricultural yields may be stretched even further, and adaptation to the new conditions looks set to cost up to 10% of gross domestic product.

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