Revaluing Africa By Accounting for Natural Capital

19 December 2013

At last, Sub-Saharan Africa is making headlines for reasons other than war, disease, humanitarian crisis or corruption. Registering seemingly inconceivable GDP annual growth rates – ranging from 6-12 percent – while the rest of the world has been bogged down by a global recession, countries from Nigeria to South Sudan are now discussed as serious players in the global economic conversation. As I argued nearly a year ago, the continent is now home to some of the most promising investment opportunities in the coming years. There is no doubt that Africa has achieved significant progress in recent years, but could we be deceiving ourselves by relying too heavily upon these all-conquering measurements for economic growth?

The first-ever World Forum for Natural Capital in Edinburgh, Scotland, unveiled the full story behind these numbers. As UK Shadow Minister of the Natural Environment and Fisheries, Barry Gardiner explained, “GDP has become a con imposed on developing countries by an economic system that regards ecosystem services on which they rely as mere externalities.” According to Gardiner, some of our world’s poorest countries only receive up to 30 percent of the real economic value of natural products like timber.

Read more from the Triple Pundit here.