What Africa Can Learn From Medieval Europe

Europe poised for tense week with Berlusconi vote, ECB ahead

But a new paper *by Stephen Broadberry and Leigh Gardner, both at the London School of Economics, seeks to find a new answer to this old question by comparing trends in contemporary Africa to Europes development experience over the last 800 years. Africas failure to develop, they argue, should not be seen as the exception, but as the historical norm. Africas growth trends since 1950overall stagnation with periods of growth and declineappear incredibly similar, both in terms of patterns and level, to those of pre-modern Europe. It took European countries until the 1800s to exceed Africas current per capita output. Humanity all over the world, for the vast majority of its history,has experienced periods of growth followed by reversals which have limited increases in per capita income. Although Africa went through periods of economic growth in the 1950s, 1960s, late-1980s and the 2000s, these growth spurts were off-set by growth reversals in the 1970s, early-1980s and the 1990s, when GDP fell. Similar patterns can be seen in pre-modern economic history, when falling per capita GDP figures in the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries wiped out earlier gains. The question that Mr Broadberry and Ms Gardner then ask is how did Europe escape from these growth reversals. They see institutional factorsmost notably the introduction of democracy and the development of state capacity for growth as the threshold conditions met in Europe, but that have generally not been in Africa. For instance, as Douglass North and Barry Weingast have argued, constitutional reforms after the Glorious Revolution of 1689 enabled these conditions to be met in Britain, producing growth in the eighteenth century that was never reversed. Increased parliamentary control over the executive and a credible commitment to pay back the public debt encouraged public and private investment which, they say, produced sustainable growth. Europes wider economic take-off in the nineteenth century can be seen in a similar light. The creation of strong and stable states in nineteenth-century Europe enabled investment in canals and railways, which increased growth rates there. The development of professional civil services and judiciaries, where promotion was based on merit rather than corruption, also helped too.

But, further down the table, Windows Phone is turning into a serious contender. According to figures out today from researchers Kantar WorldPanel ComTech, Android featured on just over 70 percent of smartphones sold in the three months to August across Europe’s five biggest markets: Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Equally unsurprisingly, iOS is in second position with 16 percent of the smartphone market in Europe a year on year rise of around two percentage points for both OSes. Windows Phone meanwhile continues to grow its share in the five countries, hitting 9.2 percent around double its 5.1 percent share for the same period last year. The jump has been fuelled by significant gains in the three major European markets: France, Germany and Great Britain. In the latter, its share has risen from 4.5 percent a year ago to 12 percent today, while in Germany it’s grown from 3.8 percent to 8.8 percent the first time it’s hit double digit share in either country. In Germany, that puts Windows Phone only one percentage point behind iOS in market share. “Windows Phone’s latest wave of growth is being driven by Nokia’s expansion into the low and mid range market with the Lumia 520 and 620 handsets. These models are hitting the sweet spot with 16 to 24 year-olds and 35 to 49 year-olds, two key groups that look for a balance of price and functionality in their smartphone,” Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, said in a statement. And, despite recent turbulence and a proposed 5.4bn takeover by Microsoft , Windows Phone’s main hardware champion Nokia is growing its own market share across some of Europe’s biggest markets. (Nokia accounted for four in five of all Windows Phone device sales across the five markets.) For the three months to the end of August, Nokia bagged 7.8 percent of all smartphone sales, up from 6.9 percent a year ago, inching up on third-placed Sony, whose share stands at 8.2 percent, a slight rise on a year ago. LG is also seeing something of a comeback, increasing its European share to 6.1 percent from 2.1 percent a year ago.

Windows Phone takes more of Europe’s smartphone market amid signs of a Nokia comeback

Over the weekend, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconis party said all five of its ministers would resign from the cabinet, sending the yield on 10-year Italian government bonds /quotes/zigman/4869096/delayed IT:10YR_ITA to a three-month high. In response and to avoid snap elections Prime Minister Enrico Letta has scheduled a vote of confidence for the government in parliament on Wednesday. Berlusconi said he engineered the walkout because he opposes a planned increase in the sales tax, but Prime Minister Enrico Letta called this a huge lie. Last week, Berlusconis allies threatened to bring down the government ifa special Senate committee meeting on Friday, Oct. 4 votes to expel the former prime minister from the upper house because of his tax-fraud conviction . Meanwhile, political disagreements in the U.S. also look set to keep investors on edge.Congress has to agree on a budget bill before the new fiscal year starts on Tuesday, Oct. 1 to avoid the first government shutdown in 17 years , but one of the key points of partisan contention is funding for the Affordable Care Act, also know as Obamacare.The Republican-led House voted early Sunday to delay the health-care law by one year, as part of legislation to keep the government running. Rounding off the week on Friday is the nonfarm payrolls report from the U.S. along with the unemployment rate. Expect the rate to stay at 7.3% and payrolls below 200,000. And as if that wasnt enough excitement, lingering concerns that the U.S.