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钟伟云:我们为什么对非洲发展前景保持乐观?



笔者曾反复询问埃塞俄比亚和卢旺达的人士,他们的国家为什么能够取得如此明显的成绩?他们的回答几乎是一致的:因为有一个强有力的领导层


文I 钟伟云  中共中央对外联络部七局局长   摄影I 李贺



54年前的5月(1963年5月25日),非洲31个独立国家的领导人齐聚埃塞俄比亚首都亚的斯亚贝巴,决定成立非洲统一组织。5月25日,非洲国家元首们集体签署了《非洲统一组织宪章》。非洲统一组织的成立,寄托着非洲人民和全世界爱好和平与进步人士的希望和期待。今天,当我们庆祝这一历史性时刻,回顾非洲所走过的道路时,有理由对非洲发展前景保持乐观。

 

曲折的发展历程

诚然,非洲从总体上说还是世界上发展阶段最落后的大陆。不论是工业化程度,还是人民生活水平,非洲与亚洲、拉丁美洲都有较大的差距,更不用说与欧美发达国家的差距了。

非洲国家在独立之初,就普遍认识到国家发展特别是经济发展的重要性。非洲第一代领导人重视经济建设,认识到没有经济独立,政治独立就不可能牢固。加纳开国总统克瓦米·恩克鲁玛曾反复说到,没有经济独立,非洲国家的政治独立就毫无意义。

然而非洲国家独立逾半个世纪来,在推进国家建设方面并不顺利,而是走过许多弯路。政治上,非洲国家探索符合国情的政治发展道路的努力屡遭挫折,一些国家政权更换频繁,政局动荡不断。经济上,非洲在经历独立初期短期的快速增长后,陷入长期停滞与低速增长。数据显示,1965年至1980年间,撒哈拉以南非洲国家经济年平均增长率为4%,等同于同期全世界4%的平均水平。然而进入20世纪80年代后,非洲经济增长率开始下降,整个80年代撒哈拉以南非洲年均增长率不到1%,如果按人均收入计算,则为负数。20世纪90年代情况略有好转,90年代前半期撒哈拉以南非洲年均增长1.5%,但仍不及同期人口增长率。可以说,上世纪80年代和90年代是非洲经济“失去的20年”。

非洲经济究竟出了什么问题?换句话说,是什么导致非洲经济遭到如此严重的困难?原因自然是多方面的。从外部环境看,西方发达国家对非洲国家自主探索经济发展道路努力的扼制是主要原因。西方发达国家出于控制非洲的目的,利用非洲国家经济暂时出现的困难,强迫非洲国家实行各种名目的“结构调整计划”。“结构调整计划”的实质,就是新自由主义改革,即进行经济的自由化、私有化。当然,国际市场大宗商品价格的波动也是非洲经济遭遇困难的外在原因之一。

从内部原因看,非洲国家普遍未能抓住上世纪60、70年代较为有利的国际经济环境,在经济管理上犯了错误。比如,一些国家不考虑财政的可持续性,过多、过快地增加社会福利支出,造成国家财政入不敷出和债务危机。进入80年代,许多非洲国家又未能抵制住西方国家和国际金融机构的压力,仓促实行“结构调整计划”,导致经济决策权落入西方国家和他们控制的国际金融机构之手。

 

1963年5月,非洲独立国家领导人在埃塞俄比亚首都亚的斯亚贝巴举行会议,讨论反对殖民主义、推动独立进程以及非洲人民团结等事项。31个国家在会上签署了组织宪章,非洲统一组织宣告成立


成功的故事

进入21世纪以来,非洲的情况出现了较大改观。一方面,非洲国家的政局日益稳定,政权的非宪政更迭次数日益减少,内战逐渐平息,通过几年一次的选举来赢得执政合法性成为常态。稳定是发展的前提,现在,非洲发展的这一前提条件基本具备了。

另一方面,非洲发展的国际环境也有所改善。西方国家在推行“结构调整计划”失败后,也放松了对非洲国家的控制,允许非洲国家有限度地自主探索国家发展道路。

多种因素的结合,带来非洲经济新一轮的增长。2000年以来,非洲经济以年均5%速度增长。不少国家年均增长率在7%以上。非洲已成为仅次于东亚的世界经济增长“第二极”。过去一向被认为是缺少“成功故事”的地方,也出现了不少“成功故事”。埃塞俄比亚和卢旺达就是两个例子。这两个国家正在悄然创造奇迹,经济建设和社会发展呈现出一派欣欣向荣的景象。

埃塞俄比亚是位于东非地区的一个有着3000多年文明史的国家。长期的封建统治和内战让埃塞俄比亚积贫积弱,20世纪80年代的大饥荒更是让世人对这个国家的贫穷与落后留下了深刻的印象。在许多人眼中,埃塞俄比亚成了苦难的代名词。1991年埃塞俄比亚政权发生更迭、埃塞俄比亚人民革命民主阵线(埃革阵)上台执政时,该国的人均GDP不到100美元,贫穷就像空气一样,弥漫到社会的每一个角落。

埃革阵在经历10年的艰难探索后,终于在新世纪前后将国家发展推上了正轨。自2003年以来,该国经济增速平均超过10%,成为同期世界上增速最快的经济体之一。该国在人口增加近5000万的基础上,人均GDP从原先的不足100美元增加到2015年的700多美元。

笔者曾于1993年至1997年在埃塞俄比亚工作和生活了4年,后来又多次重返该国,应该说亲眼见证了该国的贫穷与后来的发展变化。今天的埃塞俄比亚虽然总体上仍然比较贫穷,人民生活水平也谈不上富裕,但该国在短短十多年时间里发生的变化,让人不得不用“惊人”两个字来形容。即使你到访偏远的省会城市,也会发现工业园区和市政建设在如火如荼地进行着。埃塞俄比亚已经从服装和鞋类的纯进口国变为出口国。中国旅客在欧美国家购买的品牌皮鞋和服装,很有可能就是埃塞俄比亚生产的。

非洲另一个成功故事是卢旺达,这个国家过去留给世人的最深刻印象,可能就是1994年那场部族大屠杀。与埃塞俄比亚相比,卢旺达的个头要小得多。卢旺达国土面积2.6万多平方公里,人口却高达1100多万,是非洲人口密度最高的国家之一。自1960年独立以来,这个本来平静祥和、与世隔绝的国度就一刻也不得安宁。在各种内外势力交互影响下,胡图族人与图西族人的矛盾不断演变为深仇大恨,并最终导致1994年惨绝人寰的大屠杀,100万人惨死在屠刀之下,占全国人口的八分之一。当世人从大屠杀中惊醒过来时,恐怕谁也不会想到这个国家能够浴火重生。

然而在卡加梅总统和卢旺达爱国阵线的治理下,卢旺达出乎世人的预料,在短短的20年时间里,由一个失败国家凤凰涅般成为一个欣欣向荣的国家。过去十多年来,卢旺达经济增长率保持在5%以上,个别年份甚至达到11%。今天,当人们到访这个内陆山国时,会发现再也看不到大屠杀的痕迹。首都基加利市中心一幢幢高楼正在拔地而起,与市郊白墙红瓦的别墅区遥相辉映,街头巷尾干净整洁,国民生活宁静祥和。卢旺达政府定下了一个宏大的目标:把卢旺达打造成非洲的数字产业中心——非洲的硅谷。

 

2016年10月通车的亚吉铁路


非洲的世纪

像埃塞俄比亚和卢旺达这样的非洲国家还有一些。坦桑尼亚、肯尼亚、莫桑比克、加纳、科特迪瓦等国的经济增长速度虽不及埃塞俄比亚与卢旺达,但也已经保持了多年的持续中高速增长。如坦桑尼亚经济也已经连续十年保持6-7%的增长。当然,进入新世纪以来非洲的发展并非整齐划一,还有一批国家在黑暗的道路上进行着艰难的探索。

卢旺达和埃塞俄比亚的故事表明,非洲最不发达国家也可以找到自已的比较优势,在实现工业化的道路上大步前进。或许,非洲工业化时代正在到来。

从世界产业变迁的角度看,现在也似乎到了非洲工业化的时代。源于欧美的工业化进程,是一个不断从中心向外围扩散的过程。这个过程也是资本追逐利润的过程。工业企业为了逐利,总是要寻找具有成本优势的地方进行投资,从而带动产业转移。上世纪50年代、60年代和70年代,东亚国家是西方发达国家向外转移产业的主要对象,80年代以后,中国有效承接了工业化进程中的产业转移,包括西方发达国家以及东亚先行工业化国家都对中国进行了大量的投资。

现在,包括中国在内的先行工业化国家又把产业转移的目标投向越南、印尼、孟加拉国、印度等发展中国家,推动了这些国家的工业化进程。可以预见,下一轮产业转移的主要目标将是非洲。前世界银行首席经济学家、北京大学教授林毅夫先生认为,东南亚、南亚地区国家发展劳动力密集型制造业的比较优势维持不了多少年,投资者选择非洲进行投资才是上策。埃塞俄比亚、卢旺达等国的例子表明,已经有越来越多的企业把目光瞄准非洲,非洲的比较优势正在显现出来。时代已经轮到非洲了。

总体来看,非洲已经具备开启工业化进程的前提条件。第一,非洲国家的政治局势比独立以来任何时候都要稳定得多。不管是国内投资者还是外来投资者,都不再需要担心因政局动荡而影响投资的安全。第二,非洲具有丰富而且价格相对低廉的劳动力,亦即“人口红利”。第三,非洲拥有工业化所需要的丰富原材料,从石油、矿石到农业资源,可以说种类齐全。第四,非洲具有较高消费能力的中产阶级群体正在日益扩大。第五,尽管还不甚完美,但非洲国家的基础设施正在日益改善。

我们有理由相信,非洲的工业化时代离我们并不遥远。就像今天欧美国家消费者购买中国和东亚、南亚国家生产的日用消费品那样,或许再过一二十年,世界,包括中国,都将消费出产于非洲国家的日用消费品。

工业化进程只是非洲经济发展前景的一个方面。毫无疑问的是,工业化进程将带动其他产业的发展,特别是带动房地产业和服务业的发展。还有一点令人可喜的是,随着非洲国家营商环境的改善,非洲人的企业家精神正在培育和形成。在埃塞俄比亚、卢旺达、坦桑尼亚、莫桑比克等国,这种企业家精神的培育尤其明显。在埃塞俄比亚,我们可以看到,中小型旅游度假、批发零售、餐饮等服务业企业如雨后春笋般兴起。这与工业化进程将起到相互促进、相得益彰的作用。

当然,在工业化进程中,并非所有非洲国家都会以同一步伐前进。有的国家可能快些,有的国家可能慢些。为什么会出现这样的差距?除了自然禀赋不同外,我认为最为重要的一点,就是领导层是否坚强有力。笔者曾反复询问埃塞俄比亚和卢旺达的人士,他们的国家为什么能够取得如此明显的成绩?他们的回答几乎是一致的:因为有一个强有力的领导层。这个领导层有长远的眼光和清晰的思路,有把梦想化为现实的能力与魄力。这个领导层也有一个强大、组织严密的执政党来协助动员、组织群众,将领导层的意志化为全体人民的行动。

基于上述分析,我们有理由对非洲发展前景感到乐观。



Why We Are Optimistic of Africa’s Development Prospect?


By Zhong Weiyun from International Department, Central Committee of CPC; translated by Qinduo



It's 54 years ago, on May 25, 1963, leadersof the 31 independent African countries gathered in Addis Ababa, the capital ofEthiopia, and decided to establish the Organization of African Unity. On thatday the heads of African states signed collectively the Charter of OAU. Thebirth of OAU embodies the hopes and expectation of the Africans as well asthose progressive and peace-loving people in the rest of the world. When we arecelebrating the historic moment today by reviewing the recent histories ofAfrica, we have every reason to be optimistic of the future of the continent.

 

A Development Course with Twists and Turns

Indeed, Africa as a whole remains the leastdeveloped continent in the world. There's a large gap, either in the level ofindustrialization or the living standard, between Africa and Asia, or LatinAmerica, not to mention the Europe and America.

African countries understood well theimportance of national development in particular economic growth at the verybeginning of their independence. Realizing that there wouldn't be fullpolitical independence without economic independence, the first generation ofAfrican leaders attached great importance to economic construction. KwameNkrumah, the founding president of Ghana repeatedly pointed out, if there's noeconomic independence, political independence would be meaningless.

However, half a century later after gainingtheir independence, the national construction of African countries are not thatsmooth but with many twists and turns. Politically, African countries sufferedmany setbacks in the efforts to explore roads of nation-building based on theirown national conditions. Some countries underwent frequent change of regimes,leading to decades of political turmoil. Economically, after enjoying a shortperiod of rapid growth at the beginning of independence, the continent enteredinto a period of either long term stagnation or low growth. Data show that, theaverage economic growth of sub-Saharan Africa between 1965 and 1980 stands at4%, which more or less equals the rate of the world during the same period. Butsince 1980s, African economies' growth began to fall. The average economicgrowth rate of sub-Saharan Africa was below zero in the entire 1980s. Thefigure would be negative, if put in per capita income terms. It then changedfor a little better in the 1990s. The first half of the 1990s saw sub-SaharanAfrica expanded at 1.5% annually, still below the population growth during thesame period. It may well be said the 1980s and 1990s are the "lost twodecades" for Africa. 

What went wrong with African economy? Or inanother word, what contributed to the enormous economic hardship in Africa?There were multiple factors. But the main element was from outside, as thedeveloped countries in the West tried to sabotage the efforts by Africancountries to independently explore their own roads of economic development.With the purpose to keep Africa under control, those countries took advantageof the temporary economic difficulties in African countries to impose varioustypes of "economic structural adjustment programs" on Africancountries. The "structural adjustment programs", by nature, arenew-liberal in ideological term, namely, economic liberalization andprivatization. Of course, the fluctuation of commodity prices was also one ofthe external factors contributing to the economic hardship in Africa.

Domestically, African countries failed tomake full use of the benign international environment in the 1960s and 1970sdue to mistakes in economic management. For example, some countries overlookedthe issue of fiscal sustainability by spending too much on social welfare,resulting in fiscal deficits or even debt crisis. In the 1980s, many Africancountries, unable to resist the pressure from Western countries andinternational financial institutions, hastily put into implementation the"structural adjustment programs", handing the economic decision powerinto the hands of the Western countries and the international financialinstitutions under their control.

 


Success Stories

Since the beginning of the new century,however, the situation in Africa has improved to a great extent. On one hand,there's growing political stability, as the number of unconstitutional regimechanges are on the decline. Civil wars are dying down. To change governmentthrough elections gradually becomes the norm. Stability, as the preconditionfor economic development, is prevailing in Africa.

On the other hand, Africa’s internationalenvironment is also improving. Realizing the failure of the "structuraladjustment programs", Western countries and international financialinstitutions loosened their control of Africa and allowed them, to a certaindegree, to explore independently their own development model.

Thanks to multiple positive factors, a newround of economic growth in Africa has been unleashed. African economy hasexpanded at 5% annually since the year 2000. Many countries have recorded ahigh growth of 7% or above. Africa has become the second economic growth"pole" after East Asia. There're many success stories in Africa, which used to be known as aland of failure. Ethiopia and Rwanda are two such examples. These two countriesare creating miracles as they experience booming social and economicdevelopment.

Ethiopia, a landlocked country in the hornof Africa, and boasting of a civilization of 3,000 years long, was poor andweak due to long feudal rule and civil wars. The famine in the 1980s left theworld an unforgettable memory. To many people, Ethiopia was the symbol ofpoverty and hardship. When the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary DemocraticFront, or EPRDF, came to power in 1991, the per capita GDP of the country wasless than 100 US dollars. Poverty was like air, permeating every corner of thecountry.

After a journey of 10 years' arduousexploration, EPRDF finally put the country's economy on the right track. Since2003, Ethiopia has recorded an economic growth of more than 10% annually inaverage, one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Its per capita GDPjumped to over 700 US dollars in 2015 from the previous 100 US dollars, despitethe population has expanded from 50 million to 90 million during the period.

This author spent four years in Ethiopiafrom 1993 to 1997 and returned to the country for many times later. I can saywith confidence that I personally witnessed the abject poverty was well as thecountry’s rapid development. Today's Ethiopia remains a relatively poor countryand the living standard of its people can't be described as high. But thechanges in more than ten years are "stunning". Even in capital citiesof those remote regional states, you'll see busy ongoing construction of eitherindustrial parks or city works. Ethiopia used to be a country of pure import ofgarment and shoes. Now it has successfully changed into an exporter of garmentand shoes. The shoes and clothes Chinese tourists purchase during their visitto Europe or America are likely manufactured in Ethiopia.

Another success story is about Rwanda.Compared to Ethiopia, Rwanda is a much smaller country. It is one of theAfrican countries with the highest population density: a population of 11million in an area of 26,000 square kilometers. Since its independence in 1960,Rwanda, which was once peaceful and isolated from the outside world, becamerestless. Thanks to political forces both from outside and within, the conflictbetween Hutu and Tutsi gradually evolved into profound animosity toward eachother. The hatred was finally unleashed in the form of genocide in 1994, whichresulted in the killing of one million people, about one eighth of the totalpopulation. When the world awakened to the mass slaughter, no one would haveimagined that the country will be able to rise from the ashes.

However, under the leadership of PresidentPaul Kagame and the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front, Rwanda has grown into athriving economy from a failed country in a short period of 20 years. Rwanda'seconomy has been expanding at more than 5%, sometimes as high as 11%, duringthe past decade. When people visit the country today, nowhere will they see anysign of the massacre. In the capital of Kigali, high rises in the city centerstand against the red-roofed suburban villas. The streets are clean and tidy.People live in quiet and peace. The Rwandan government aims high: to turnRwanda into Africa's center of IT industry, the Silicon Valley of Africa.

 


The Africa Century

There are more success stories in Africabeside Ethiopia and Rwanda. Countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique, Ghana,Cote d'Ivoire and so on, though their economies are not growing as fast asthose of Ethiopia and Rwanda, have maintained continuous medium-to-high rate ofgrowth. Tanzanian economy, as a matter of fact, has been expanding at 6% to7%for a decade. It's true that not all economies in Africa have recorded fastdevelopment and many of them are still struggling in the darkness.

The stories of Rwanda and Ethiopiademonstrate that, even the least developed economies in Africa can find theirown comparative advantage and make big strides on the road ofindustrialization. Maybe, the era of industrialization in Africa is arriving.

From the point of transfer of globalindustries, it seems that it's time for Africa to achieve itsindustrialization. The industrialization process, originated from Europe andthe US, is a process of expanding from the center to the periphery. It is alsoa process of profit-seeking capitals. In order to gain profit, enterprises willalways seek to invest in regions with cost advantage, thus leading to transferof industries.  During the 50s, 60s and70s of the last century, East Asian countries were the destination ofindustrial transfer from Western countries. In the 1980s, China became toundertake industrial transfer from the newly industrialized countries in East Asiaas well as developed countries in the West, receiving a tremendous amount ofinvestment. 

Currently, the newly industrialized nationsare again transferring their industries to other developing countries likeVietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and India, and thus promoting these countries’industrialization.  It’s safe to say thatthe destination of next round’s transfer of industries will be Africa. Prof.Justin Yifu Lin, former chief economist of World Bank and professor of PekingUniversity noted that, the comparative advantage enjoyed by countries in Southand Southeast Asia to develop labor-intensive manufacturing can’t last forlong, a better choice for investors would be Africa. The examples of Ethiopiaand Rwanda reveal that more and more companies are shifting their attention toAfrica, as the continent’s comparative advantage are emerging on thelandscape. 

In conclusion, the conditions are ripe forAfrica to start their industrialization process. Now it’s Africa turn.

First of all, African countries areenjoying a political stability unseen since their independence. Investors,either domestic or foreign, don’t need to worry about their investment securityany more. Secondly, Africa has an abundance of low-cost labor force, known asthe so-called “population bonus”. Thirdly, there’s plenty of raw material forindustrialization from oil, mineral and agricultural resources. Fourthly, there’san expanding middle class with a relatively strong consumption power. Lastly,though not perfect, the infrastructure in African countries is getting betterand better.

We have every reason to believe that thetime of industrialization in Africa is not far from us. While today we seeconsumer goods made in China or countries in East and South Asia are being soldto consumers in Europe and America, 10 or 20 years later, similar productsmanufactured in African countries could be consumed by people around the worldincluding China.

Industrialization is however only oneaspect of the African economic prospect. Undoubtedly, the industrializationprocess will stimulate the development of other industries, the property andservice industry in particular. What’s also promising is, as the businessenvironment improves in African countries, the entrepreneurship is beingnourished and comes into shape. The cultivation of entrepreneurship isespecially prominent in countries like Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, andMozambique.  In Ethiopia, we are seeingthat small to medium-sized enterprises in tourism, wholesale and retailsectors, catering businesses are springing up like mushrooms. These businesseswill grow together with the industrialization process in a mutually reinforcingand complementary manner.

For sure, not all African countries willgrow at a similar pace in the process of industrialization. Some countries willdevelop faster, others will be slower. Why is there such a gap? Except fordifferences in national conditions, the key point is whether there’s a strongleadership. This author asked people from Ethiopia and Rwanda again and againthis one question: why do their countries achieve such a prominent development?Their answers are almost identical: strong leadership! Such a leadershipembodies a long vision and clear thinking, and the ability and courage to makedream come true. Such a leadership is based on a powerful and well-organizedruling party, which helps mobilize and organize the masses and turn the will ofthe leadership into action of the people.

Based on the above analysis, we do havereasons to be confident about Africa’s development prospect.