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Noah Smith

Wakanda's Prosperity Isn't So Far-Fetched for Africa

The wealthy fictional nation in the "Black Panther" may become reality someday.
Marvel Studios

Moviegoers have been going crazy over “Black Panther,” the new Marvel comic book superhero film. In addition to being a fun romp, the movie holds special emotional significance for many -- not just because of its mostly black cast, but because of its setting, Wakanda. A fictional country located somewhere in Africa, Wakanda avoided colonization by foreign powers, and is now wealthy and highly developed. That image speaks powerfully to many in the global African diaspora, and to many Africans as well.

But although Wakanda represents a fictional past, its wealth and its glittering skyline probably do represent the future for many African countries. After decades of disappointing performance, many places in Africa are beginning to tread the path to prosperity.