Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Schumpeter in Africa??

Few people will contest the assertion that most of the entrepreneurial growth in this century will take place in BRIC countries (actually mostly India and China).

But Africa?? Africa, we hear, has too many little nondescript inchoate domains with a big-man at the top calling themselves nation states, while still struggling to curve a synthetic national identity out of the vestiges of a colonial past.

I argue that all that is changing; has changed.

Africa is democratizing, Africa is integrating. Africa is growing up.
The so-called “Arab Spring” is in fact the tail end of a long African Summer.

The newest of the regional integration programs is COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Summit. The Tripartite is an umbrella organization consisting of three of Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (REC’s), namely: the East Africa Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Summit will focus on expanding and integrating trade and include the establishment of Free Trade Areas (FTA’s), Custom Unions, Monetary Unions and Common Markets, as well as infrastructure development projects in transport, information and communications technology and energy.

With more than 527 million people and a Gross domestic product (GDP) of approximately 624 Billion US Dollars, the 26 member countries of the Tripartite make up 57% of the population of the African Union (AU) and just over 58% in terms of contribution to GDP.

Africa: 53 Countries, One Union – The New Challenges conference

‘Africa: 53 Countries, One Union – The New Challenges‘ conference will take place in Washington, DC on June 15 and 16, 2011.

Download the preliminary Conference Program

The main objective is to offer to senior policy makers and experts the opportunity to discuss the relevance of regional and continental integration in the solution of major African problems, including those generated by recent developments which now challenge our concepts of freedom and democracy.

The Conference will focus on the roles of the United Nations, African Union, European Union and the United States and China governments. International organizations such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, World Trade Organization, and Economic Commission for Africa will also be involved.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Some Growth

We're pleased to introduce the newest contributor to our blog, Jeremiah Mitoko, a PhD student at George Mason's School of Public Policy. He will be writing about entrepreneurship, development, investment, and microfinance in Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa more broadly. We look forward to many new and exciting posts from Jeremiah.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Silicon Valley of the East

From a supplement to National Journal (NJ), also reposted on the Atlantic's site, with a different title (Atlantic):

Fairfax County is home to a quarter of all immigrants in metropolitan Washington and to 40 percent of the area's foreign-born Indians. It's no wonder that on a recent Thursday night at Worldgate Centre, a strip mall one block north of the Dulles Toll Road, almost 20 South Asians--mostly young families or groups of young men--streamed through the glass doors in just a matter of minutes to catch a movie.

KiranTeja Chadalawada was with friends on his way to see the Telugu-language film 100 Percent Love. A 22-year-old immigrant from southern India who is pursuing a master's degree in telecommunications at George Mason, he moved to Fairfax County in 2009 for school because a friend from India recommended it. "A senior from college was studying here and said it was a great [place] to learn and get an internship," Chadalawada said. After racking up a few years of experience in Virginia, he hopes to start a company of his own--but not in Virginia: He and his pals "are looking to go back to India," he said.

Increasingly, the members of the next generation of Indian entrepreneurs are looking to the East. They feel pulled by India's economic vigor and also pushed out by the daunting rules for U.S. visas. Advocates of immigration find it foolish to force smart, ambitious people to leave the United States simply because they were born elsewhere, especially after American taxpayers have invested so much in educating them.

"These guys create jobs," said Michael McVicker, an immigration lawyer whose Reston, Va., office is near the Dulles Toll Road. "They've created jobs for thousands of people, the vast majority of whom are Americans."

It was time for immigration reform a long time ago, but now is a fine time to get started.