Joaquín Morales

Are we so different?

The “Explaining African Economic Growth” project was launched in 1999 as a common research project between top world universities under the leadership of the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC). As a result of this project, the book “The Political Economy of Economic Growth in Africa, 1960-2000” (1) is considered as a major common-effort breakthrough towards the explanation of recent Africa´s economic history. Top scholars such as Jean-Paul Azam, Robert Bates, Paul Collier, Anke Heoffler, Agustin Kwasi Fosu, Benno Ndulu and Stephen O’Connell seem to agree than most of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) underperformances in economic development can be explained mainly by the so-called four “Anti-Growth Syndromes” (2) of policy environments.

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Those spooky patents on Genes

The recent Cumbre Andina de Naciones held in Tarija brought controversy about the particular conditions that Bolivia put forward to negotiate conditions of a free trade agreement with the European Union. One of the arguments held by the Bolivian government to distrust the agreement was that special clauses where required to protect genetic patrimony and ancient knowledge concerning the use of medicinal plants.

This subject is highly controversial, and since the government is so close to Anti-globalisation movements and several NGOs, we couldn’t expect any different posture. But one thing is political posture and another one is reality.

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