Another Pew study , from , noted that Africans are especially active in their churches, with more than 60 percent saying they attend church at least once a week.
How Africa can grab the 4IR opportunity
The population is booming across the continent, and so is Catholicism. While Europe lost , faithful between and , Africa registered the most growth, with 6. The same survey found that the total number of priests in the church decreased by a few hundred to ,, with the major erosion also in Europe, which lost about 2, priests in those years.
But Africa, with 1, new priests, and Asia, with 1,, picked up the slack. Antonio Juliasse, the auxiliary bishop of Maputo, said that the church in Mozambique, like the country, was poor and often lacked the funds to provide services without outside help. At the same time, he said, it had strength in numbers and fervor, and the packed seminaries and young people at the churches suggested a bright future. That is different compared to Europe. While I might have added a fifth—urban governance for poverty reduction—the focus on a few areas combined with an excellent synthesis of vast quantities of new research on what has worked in supporting economic development in Africa is both stimulating and refreshing.
A Bright Future? Regional Development in Africa
Despite its importance to economic growth and poverty reduction throughout Asia and Latin America, agriculture remains a neglected sector in Africa. The report appropriately highlights this gap and calls for a focus on transforming the livelihoods of small-holder farm households. One reason for current neglect is the failure of many interventions in rural areas.
The report clearly and cogently summarizes a large and recent literature on successes and failures of interventions and policies in Africa and elsewhere to argue for a renewed effort. Food crops are still the basis for the badly needed green revolution in Africa because of the large share of food that is imported; the fact that poorer farmers are more likely to produce staple crops; and, that low profit margins discourage the private sector from investing to develop the value chains in this sector the way that they do for vegetables, fruits, or sesame, for example.
The report calls for public sector interventions throughout the staples value chain—in research and development, infrastructure, extension and marketing—noting that interventions that only address one constraint e.
Although I agree with the admission, I found the chapter conclusion less than satisfactory. Is there a middle ground, addressing fewer issues with less complexity that has lower risks yet enough rewards? Also, the report ducked the genetically modified foods GMO controversy, even though this technology is the best hope for African agriculture including staple crops.
Introducing direct taxes on income and land which would hit the rich is an important recommendation that is not made often enough, especially by economists, who love the VAT despite the regressive impact. Getting more mineral extraction revenues transparently into the public finance system is an old chestnut showing up in this chapter.
Assessing past and future strategies for reducing poverty in Africa
If only we could figure out how to do this in the face of massive governance failures. New, and very welcome, is a forceful call for reducing or eliminating subsidies on agricultural inputs especially fertilizer and energy. Built over a transit hub that links minibus taxis and trains, Warwick Market offers everything from fresh vegetables to dried medicinal herbs.
Among rows of wild spinach and sweet potatoes is a butchery that sells fresh offal and fish.
It represents a third option: a more natural, bottom-up development that embraces all Durbanites, not just those who can afford to eat in the fancier restaurants of Florida Road or tourists paying for expensive beachfront hotels. It was ultimately saved by mass demonstrations, when thousands of vendors rallied together, forcing the city to rethink its development plan and improve the junction for people who already lived there.
Dobson says the market functions well, with a turnover in the order of millions of pounds. It is vendors who keep the area safe and clean, not police or city workers.
IN THE PRESS: Two experts reveal the importance of African cities for our future
In many ways Warwick represents the kind of community buy-in and local participation that is only now beginning to occur on the beachfront, and has yet to occur in the city that lies right behind it. So, will Durban ever become a fully inclusive city? I think that all the evidence shows that kind of integration will take generations. Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram to join the discussion, catch up on our best stories or sign up for our weekly newsletter.
Share your views here on how South African cities have changed in the last 25 years. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Nick Van Mead. Topics Cities South African cities week.