In a world with a clearly-defined gap between developed, larger countries and small countries categorized by political turmoil and radical militant groups, it is difficult to recognize the growth of peace and stability. United States based companies often view currently developing countries as risks due to economic instability. Nevertheless, these low-to-middle income countries are increasingly becoming more stable and present the potential to be beneficial business associates.
Africa in particular is portrayed as a continent wrought by weak government and health issues, especially in countries such as the Central African Republic and Somalia. Even its more peaceful countries are depicted as chaotic by biased media sources. In the 2012 Kony campaign produced by the organization Invisible Children, the small country of Uganda was shown in a viral video as being in a constant battle with a sinister radical named Joseph Kony. He was said to have been continually recruiting children for his rebel militia, when in reality, he fled to the Central African Republic long before the video was released. Uganda itself is one of the less hostile countries in Africa. As a matter of fact, Uganda dropped from the 130th to 120th place on the Global Corruption Perception Index, showing that overall government corruption is decreasing in the country.
The Fund for Peace, a non-profit research organization dedicated to preventing violence and sustaining security, created a measure for indicating the stability of 178 nations based on the political, social, and economic pressures they face. The Failed States Index places countries on a spectrum that ranges from “Very Sustainable” to "Very High Alert.” Exactly 70 of the countries listed are considered to be under very high warning or greater whereas Sweden and Finland are the only two categorized as very sustainable. Although this source may be credible in some regards, the length of the list can likely be attributed to the consistent negative ideologies of developing countries from the limited perspectives of world economic powers, especially since the highest risk categories are dominated by African countries.
In reality, Africa as a continent is currently set to grow economically at a more rapid rate than ever in 2014. Of the top 10 countries with the fastest growing economies during 2013, African countries composed half of the list. The predicted economic expansion can be attributed to the improvement of healthcare and education along with the decreased proportion of child mortality. So why are these countries consistently acknowledged as economically weak from the United States’ point of view? Stagnant amounts of global financial aid given to these countries cause them to appear as though they are in perpetual economic hardship and in desperate need of assistance.
Africa in particular provides a major prospective trade partner for the United States. Already, China has recognized the economic potential for Africa and is currently its largest trade partner. By strategic partnering, Africa has become the main source of importing for China and the two are planning to cooperate regardless of any regional challenges for the foreseeable future. In terms of relations between the United States and Africa, current reliance on military establishment as a solution to African national security problems will not prove to benefit anyone. With Africans becoming more supportive of the idea of diaspora and an expected rise of the middle class, The United States should reconsider their previous misconceptions about the continent.
Globally, progress is being made on the grounds of peacemaking which could be a direct response to the majority of countries in the world becoming richer. Current absolute GDP for all countries in the world is not lower than what it was in 1960. And although 50% of the world’s population lives on a quarter or less of the U.S. poverty rate, current measures of growth in global economy hint that traditional Malthusian fears of “poverty traps” are simply theories. Despite an increased amount of terrorism in the Middle East and South Asia, an overall decline of these attacks has been observed throughout the rest of the world and is a good sign for international business.