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Copyright (c) 1999 Law and Policy in International Business
Law and Policy in International Business

ARTICLE: Unlocking Africa's Potential: Some Factors Affecting Economic Development and Investment in Sub-Saharan Africa

Summer, 1999

30 Law & Pol'y Int'l Bus. 623


Peter K. Nyikuli 1



Africa is endowed with plenty of natural resources, a pleasant climate, cultural diversity, and a rich historical past, yet it remains marginalized in the economic development process and global political scene. Although Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to developing countries has been increasing in the last decade, Africa accounted for only about one percent of that investment in 1998. 2

Africa presents a paradox. Recent positive changes in Africa have brought hope for an African renaissance, evidenced by impressive real growth rates in some countries. Examples of recent positive developments include the end of the civil war and a turn-around in economic development in Mozambique, the promise of a democratically elected government in Nigeria after a long period of military rule, and growing regional cooperation and integration of African economies. On the other hand, there are still major issues threatening this African renaissance. Internal and border conflicts in several countries and regions, heavy debt burdens, and low levels of private investment are still issues of major concern. What must be done to unlock Africa's potential and put it on an irreversible path of economic development?

The answer to this question may be found in the interplay of various factors, including the experiences that Africa has undergone over the years and lessons learned from other countries. More important, however, is the ability and resolve of individual African states to forge ahead and the willingness of the international community to support this effort. This paper addresses some of ...
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