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Ben Bernanke's Gift to Africa

Workers at the bottom of a chute at the Gibe III dam under construction in Ethiopia’s Omo valley
Workers at the bottom of a chute at the Gibe III dam under construction in Ethiopia’s Omo valleyPhotograph by Jenny Vaughan/AFP/Getty Images

There’s no paucity of warnings about the unintended consequences of the Bernanke Federal Reserve’s unprecedented monetary policy. After all, four years of zero interest rates followed by at least three rounds of freestyle easing have injected trillions into global capital markets. Are high-yield bonds now too junky? Should banks actually be penalizing customers for giving them too much in the way of super-cheap deposits? What of the widening of the gap between the Have-Nots and the Kardashians?

But how cool would it be if the era of QE3 is unintentionally doing Africa, the world’s most developmentally stunted region, a huge favor?