A Review: the “Economic Report on the State of the Black World” By The New York Christian Times.
“We Need to Move the Needle” — Rev. Dennis Dillon
In a rapidly changing global landscape, the Black world stands at a unique intersection of demographic shifts, deep economic inequities, and the legacies of our brutal histories. Understanding these dynamics becomes crucial as continents, nations, and peoples grapple with these realities of our world. “The Economic Report of the State of the Black World” embarks on a deep dive into the intricate tapestry of the Global Black World, unraveling economic stagnation, disparity, challenge, and opportunity patterns. From the bustling streets of Johannesburg to the vibrant communities of Black America and from the shores of Nigeria to the hills of Jamaica, this Report seeks to shed light on the burdens of a world profoundly unfair, often inequitable to Black people, yet full of promise and potential. Reverend Dennis Dillon, publisher of the New York Christian Times, and his team take us on a journey that goes beyond the numbers into the economic heartbeats of the diverse communities and the stories they hold. “My primary motivation is to challenge the ingrained perceptions causing disunity within the African world, a narrative not shaped by Africans but by colonizers, enslavers, and perpetuated by systemic racism.” said Rev. Dennis Dillon, “this narrative has sought to oppress and diminish the black community. Beyond this, I’m driven by the belief that harnessing our inherent strength and energy, we not only can but must rise to achieve economic empowerment and control,” he continued.
The Stagnant Needle
The imagery of an unmoving needle paints a vivid picture of the stagnation faced by Black communities globally. The Report starts with a stark realization: Black America and the Black World are not progressing at the expected rate. Especially poignant is the Report’s self-awareness, positioning itself not as an agitator but as a messenger delivering uncomfortable truths.
The Report launches an in-depth exploration of the disparities that plague Black communities, with alarming statistics from a variety of sources about Black businesses’ stunted growth, a persistent housing gap, and the alarming health disparities starkly exemplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. The figures on GDP, net worth, median income, and education rates clearly show a community left behind.
The Global Crisis and the Weight of History
Moving beyond American borders, the Report highlights that this isn’t an isolated issue. The imbalances faced by the African Continent, despite its rich natural resources, draw attention to more extensive, systemic problems. Exploring Africa’s trade deficits offers compelling evidence of global imbalances and exploitation.
The growth trend of Black populations isn’t limited to Africa; it’s reflected worldwide. In the U.S., the Black population growth from 2015 to 2020 was 13.4%, double the nation’s overall growth. The median age offers insight into these dynamics: globally, it’s 30; in the U.S., it’s 38, with Blacks younger at 31 and Whites at 43. Notably, Japan has the world’s oldest median age at 49, while Niger in Africa boasts the youngest at 14.
In the U.S., nearly half of the millennials identify as minorities, with a significant portion having African ancestry. South Africa, a nation with a majority Black population similar in size to Black Americans, struggles with intense racial and economic disparities. Despite the end of the apartheid regime decades ago, economic power remains skewed. Whites, 7.8% of the population, control 70% of the GDP, while Blacks, making up 81%, manage only 21%. Income disparities are evident, too, with Black South Africans earning significantly less than their White counterparts.
By connecting current economic disparities with the historical legacies of slavery, apartheid, and colonization, the Report underlines the long-lasting repercussions of systemic racism. The comparison of racial and economic hierarchies is a sobering reflection on global patterns of racial stratification.
Black Economic Power and Wealth Gap
Despite its abundant resources, Africa struggles in the global trade scene. In 2021, only 12 African nations Reported a trade surplus. Europe, in contrast, exported a collective $9.1 trillion. Remittances are critical in many countries’ economies, especially in Africa and the Caribbean. Nigeria and Jamaica are leading receivers of these remittances in their respective regions. Overreliance on such funds, however, may hinder sustainable economic growth, the Report noted.
Drawing attention to the often deceptive feeling of economic inclusion, the data reveals the grim truth, challenging the perceptions of progress with hard evidence. The Report’s exploration of buying power in America tells the purchasing disparities faced by the Black community. The historical context exposes a jarring look at the vast economic chasms.
Moving the Needle
Africa’s abundant resources and natural minerals have immense economic growth and development potential, especially in manufacturing, value addition, and intra-African trade. While the challenges are enormous, the potential for growth and development in Africa and among Black communities globally is undeniable. With the right policies, investments, and international partnerships, hope for a more equitable and prosperous future exists. Armed with this belief, the lead author of the Report concludes with an exciting announcement that the forthcoming Resurgence Conference (reSURGEnce 2023), scheduled to take place in Harlem from November 17th to 19th, will address the urgent need to “move the needle” on these critical economic disparities. “We’re uniting Black-owned businesses from the Americas and Africa, along with government leaders, including mayors from New York City, Jersey City, North New Jersey, Mount Vernon, and Mount Hempstead in New York. We aim to foster dialogue and collaboration between African and American governments, Black business owners, and entrepreneurs. This conference aims to unite us all to establish partnerships and facilitate economic growth with the support of those with the resources to make a difference and move the needle forward,” concludes Rev. Dillon.
Looking at 2030, the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility forecasts a remarkable growth in African American buying power, projecting it to soar to an impressive $1.7 trillion. In light of this economic surge and the proactive initiatives taken by Washington to foster cross-Atlantic Diaspora engagement, there’s a burgeoning interest among African Americans and Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora to explore lucrative business and investment opportunities. In response to this exciting potential, a dynamic coalition of Black business leaders unites forces, recognizing the significance of leveraging this newfound economic influence and cross-cultural collaboration.”
The New York Christian Times and Christian Times Global’s commitment to shedding light on these issues is vital, and this Report is a step towards moving that stagnant needle.
Featured image: Rev. Dennis Dillon (center)