20 Apr

African economies can be as efficient as any if they really have to

Nigeria has re-opened the airport in the capital Abuja after it completed repairs on its airplane runway a day ahead of schedule, confounding pessimists who predicted overruns. Nigeria, like many economies on the continent, is notorious for poor timekeeping and inefficiency.

But as the runway’s completion shows, such problems need not be inevitable. Nigeria’s swift response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014-16 offers another example. When needs must, African countries can be surprisingly effective at tackling complex problems.

The real issue was allowing the Abuja runway to decay to a point where repairs were needed in the first place. This points to a deeper problem of institutional inertia, whereby progress is locked in a stop-start cycle dependent on exceptional circumstances or individuals for progress.

Building efficient institutions is far from simple, but if done successfully there is no reason African states cannot be as capable as their developed counterparts.

Distributed by: WhyAfrica

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