Africa Benefits from Commodity Costs

Audio available via Marketplace (11:26).

While high consumer prices for fuel and food capture the headlines, the costs of the basic raw materials for construction and industry — from copper wiring to rolled steel and timber — are also at record highs.

This squeezes U.S. firms. But not everyone around the world suffers from high global commodity prices. Some benefit positively — and not just oil sheiks in the Middle East. It may come as a surprise, but Africa has been a winner in the global commodity game.

In fact, high commodity prices are propelling the fastest economic growth sub-Saharan Africa has seen in over three decades. Continent-wide growth has been at about 5 percent per year since 2002 — not quite at Chinese or Indian levels, but a big step forward for a region better known for civil wars than corporate profits.

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