Charles Robertson

Emerging-markets economist
In "The Fastest Billion," Charles Robertson re-examines the narrative of economic growth in African nations.

Why you should listen

Checking one's assumptions about "Africa" has become a trope -- but it's still important to do, and still surprising. In The Fastest Billion, economist Charles Robertson and his co-authors suggest that behind the stereotyped narrative are some jawdropping indicators of extreme economic and social growth. He and colleagues make the case that Africa is moving away -- quickly -- from the "bottom billion" and  "will be the fastest continent to reach the fourth economic age ... of high-income, low-corruption and generally democratic norms." Rich in resources, and powered by young people who are holding leaders to account in new ways, Africa’s economies are now returning some of the highest growth rates on Earth. How will this trend play out?
Robertson, a leading emerging markets specialist, is the global chief economist and head of the macro-strategy unit at Renaissance Capital, where he covers the global economic themes having the greatest impact on emerging markets.

What others say

“"Robertson appears to believe that a combination of more responsible government and the experience of a decade ago means that it is unlikely that debt will become a major burden in Sub-Saharan Africa soon."” —

Charles Robertson’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Charles Robertson

Live from TEDGlobal

Africa and the fastest billion: Charles Robertson at TEDGlobal 2013

June 13, 2013

Charles Robertson, co-author of The Fastest Billion, is the second speaker in the “Forces of Change” session this afternoon at TEDGlobal 2013. His message is loud and clear: Africa’s future is bright. Africa is booming: Per capita income since 2000 has doubled; life expectancy has increased by one year every three years; and HIV infection […]

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Live from TEDGlobal

Forces of Change: The speakers in session 9 of TEDGlobal 2013

June 13, 2013

In George Ayittey’s classic TED Talk from 2007, he describes two factions in Africa toggling for control — the “hippo generation,” the ruling elites riddled with corruption and inaction, and the “cheetah generation,” the fast-moving entrepreneurial leaders with the ability to create change. This session — guest hosted by TED Fellows Adrian Hong (who works […]

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