African Economics - 3/14/14 | WYPR

African Economics - 3/14/14

Mar 14, 2014

In many ways, sub-Saharan Africa is still poor.  Despite the fact that many of the nation’s fastest growing economies are located in Africa, gross national income there averages just $2,232 per capita.  By contrast, gross national income in the U.S., which is a measure distinct from gross national product, is in the range of $50,000 per person. 

But despite that income gap, Africa has its advantages.  The U.S. is home to one of the world’s highest obesity rates.  Excessive borrowing helped to produce a subprime mortgage crisis.  As pointed out by the New York Times, the U.S. is also associated with a massive carbon footprint and ongoing reliance on fossil fuels.  Other wealthy nations have their issues, including in South Korea, which has declared Internet addiction public health concern. 

While Africa is associated with more basic concerns, including malaria and large numbers of death associated with childbirth, individual Africans waste less food and water, owe less money to their creditors and maintain a regional carbon footprint that this the lowest in the world.  The energy consumed annually by the 19.5 million people of New York state is equivalent to that of nearly 800 million Africans.