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'Economic emergence': the potential of fair African development

Across Africa, where many nations show high economic growth rates but with little benefit to their populations, the notion of social and economic “emergence” is taking hold as a remedy for perennial pessimism. Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara, who hosted a regional conference on the theme this week, has grabbed on to the promise of economic emergence as he plans to seek re-election in October. “For me, the goal of emergence is not GDP (gross domestic product) growth per se: it is the pursuit of greater human health and happiness so that each one of us can fulfil our potential and participate fully in our societies,” said Helen Clark, administrator for the UN Development Programme. Ivory Coast, the world’s leading cocoa producer, barely four years ago came out of a political and military crisis after a bloody decade.

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