Mainstream media outlets typically highlight only the bad news from sub-Saharan Africa. There might be many reasons for this – it fits our expectations, it sells better, whatever. Regardless of the cause, coverage of Africa has broadly missed the most important stories from the continent over the past decade or so: a drop in infant mortality and a rise in economic growth.
This Talk of the Nation piece brings together a number of experts to discuss the reasons behind the latter, including UC Berkeley economist (and co-author of my favorite paper) Ted Miguel. My favorite bit came toward the end, when they were discussing increased traffic congestion as a sign of economic growth, but also as a new obstacle to be overcome. While listening to it, I was stuck in traffic just outside Blantyre, and had time to look out my window and see this (don’t worry, mom, I pulled over to take the picture):
Hat tip: Nancy Marker