Paul Collier

Europe’s role in development of Africa

With Africa becoming the fastest growing continent, especially due to the vast amount of its natural wealth, Europe should proactively cooperate in its development. Africa’s prosperity is Europe’s opportunity. Many of the European countries are reviving their ties with different African countries. Since Africa on the other hand is still very poor and faces many societal problems, Europe can through its actions in development cooperation and its policies, help Africa meet these challenges.

Tuesday 08.05.2012

The tripod that Africa needs to build combines the correct economic rules and reform, improvement of its institutions and the development of effective implementation capability. One of the main difficulties faced by African governments is to have a good knowledge of their natural resources: a good public geological survey. This will enable the governments to have credibility and knowledge in the negotiating processes with extraction corporations. Today it still happens that the estimate on the resources is given by the corporations, often to the disadvantage of the country.

African opportunity is the industrialisation of its economy- so far it hasn’t done it. Here Collier draws attention to the global manufacturing phenomena by giving a “lecture” on the economics of buttons> two thirds of world’s buttons are made in China in one single town, No comparative advantage can explain this. The synergy effects, deriving from a cluster set-up, where the production chain is developed as well as the economies of scale, make it very difficult for a newcomer to break in the business. Only with gradual increase of wages in Asia, Africa may have a chance with labour intensive sectors. Where EU can help is by keeping open markets and relocate some of its labour intensive business to African countries. EU can help by giving a privileged access in our own markets over the goods coming in from Asia. We do it, but in a patchy way- we should also open the markets to the better of African countries.


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Prof. Paul Collier is the Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the Oxford University. Collier is the world-renown expert on development issues, especially focusing on Africa, the author of numerous books and articles, including “The Bottom Billion”, “Wars, Guns and Votes” and “The Plundered Planet: How to Reconcile Prosperity With Nature. Collier has worked as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to the British government and columnist to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. His major areas of interest include governance in low-income countries, especially the political economy of democracy, economic growth in Africa, economics of civil war, aid, globalisation and poverty.

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