Le Continent perdu


LONDRES – Elle héberge un sixième de la population du globe, mais ne contribue qu’au quarantième du PIB mondial. L’Afrique est la victime la plus touchée par la récession. Après cinq ans de croissance à 5 %, il est prévu que le taux de croissance du continent diminue de moitié en 2009. Certains pays, comme l’Angola, sont en perte de vitesse. Partout ailleurs, la crise a balayé les progrès survenus pendant ces dernières années de réforme économique. L’indigence guette de nouveau un grand nombre d’Africains.

Les experts du développement se lamentent : l’Afrique les met au défi de faire des miracles. A la veille de la décolonisation en 1960, le véritable PIB par habitant en Afrique sub-saharienne était presque trois fois supérieur à celui de l'Asie du sud-est. L’on prévoyait même une hausse de l’espérance de vie de deux ans. Or, en cinquante ans, le véritable PIB par habitant ne s’est accru que de 38 % et l’espérance de vie de neuf ans. En Asie du sud-est cependant, ces chiffres s’élèvent à respectivement 1000 % et 32 ans.

De prime abord, la solution au sous-développement africain était évidente. Ce continent avait besoin de capital mais l'épargne lui faisait défaut. L’argent devait donc provenir de l’extérieur – notamment d’institutions telles que la Banque mondiale. Puisque arracher un taux d'intérêts commercial à une population qui crève de faim est à la limite de l'usure, les prêts étaient contractés à tarif préférentiel – en réalité, par l’humanitaire.

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