The Asian Aspiration
Why and How Africa Should Emulate Asia – and What It Should Avoid
In 1960, the GDP per capita of Southeast Asian countries was nearly half of that of Africa. By 1986 the gap had closed and today the trend is reversed, with more than half of the world’s poorest now living in sub Saharan Africa.
Why has Asia developed while Africa lagged? The Asian Aspiration chronicles the stories of explosive growth and changing fortunes: the leaders, events and policy choices that lifted a billion people out of abject poverty within a single generation, the largest such shift in human history.
The relevance of Asia’s example comes as Africa is facing a population boom, which can either lead to crisis or prosperity, and as Asia is again transforming, this time out of low-cost manufacturing into hi-tech, leaving a void that is Africa’s for the taking. Far from the optimistic determinism of ‘Africa Rising’, this book calls for unprecedented pragmatism in the pursuit of African success.
Introduction: The Asian Aspiration
PART ONE: CASE STUDIES FROM ASIA
Chapter 1: Japan: The Power of Example and Innovation
Chapter 2: Taiwan: The Subcontractor
Chapter 3: Singapore: Have a Good Crisis
Chapter 4: South Korea: Incentivising Competitiveness
Chapter 5: The Philippines: Beware Elites
Chapter 6: Malaysia: Managing Diversity
Chapter 7: Indonesia: The Cost of Corruption, the Benefits of Growth
Chapter 8: Thailand: Closed Politics, Open Tourism
Chapter 9: China: Cats, Mice and Cement
Chapter 10: Vietnam: Making Better Development Choices
PART TWO: FIVE KEY LESSONS FOR SUCCESS FROM ASIA
Chapter 11: The Premium of Leadership and Institutions
Chapter 12: Don’t be a Prisoner of the Past
Chapter 13: Get the Basics Right for Growth
Chapter 14: Build and Integrate
Chapter 15: Open Up to Keep Control
What if Lee Kuan Yew was African?
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Greg Mills directs the Brenthurst Foundation. An adviser to several African presidents and to COMISAF in Afghanistan, he is the author of, among others, Why Africa is Poor: And What Africans Can Do About It and Why States Recover: Changing Walking Societies into Winning Nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
Olusegun Obasanjo was president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 and chairperson of the African Union from 2004 to 2006.
Emily van der Merwe is an economist at The Brenthurst Foundation.
Hailemariam Desalegn was the prime minister of Ethiopia.