It is now an established fact that the African continent is a rising economic and social giant. From many years of colonisation, inequality and oppression, Africa is rising to navigate through all the complexities and push towards political and economic liberation of its people. Due to these concerted efforts, seven of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa and the continent is now being considered across the world as a prime investment destination. Below are nine mega trends shaping the future of Africa.
Demographics – Africa’s demographics have evolved over the last couple of decades.The continent has continued to witness increased birth rates and a high life expectancy. Experts estimate that this will lead to the doubling of Africa’s current population in the next 35 years with the under 18 population increasing to one billion.These changing demographics will provide a large pool of human resources but will also pause a challenge in the provision of meaningful job opportunities for the youth in every country.
Rise of the individual – More and more Africans have been empowered and standards of living improved through advances in global education, health and technology.This trend is expected to continue which will lead to a growing middle class and a reduction in the poor class. Africa will also in the next couple of decades see more and more wealthy individuals and families.
Enabling technology – Africa has not been left behind in catching up with global technological advancement trends. While many governments have played the role of creating the right policies and enabling environment, it is the private sector that has driven the expansion of information and communications technology.This has tremendously affected the media landscape leading to a change in how information is accessed, how products and services are produced and delivered and many other areas of general life.
Economic interconnectedness – Africa has seen the emergency of various regional economic bodies which are working towards fostering economic inter-connectivity.This interconnected global economy will see a continued increase in the levels of international trade and capital flows.The only thing that needs to be dealt with are international conventions so that economic benefits can be realised for all.
Public debt – Many African governments have for a long time depended on borrowed financial resources to drive the social and economic agenda.This debt has also in many instances proven to be very problematic especially with regards to being repayed. Governments ability to bring debt under control and find new ways of delivering public services will affect their capacity to respond to major social, economic and environmental challenges.
Economic power shifts – The world has seen over the years seen a huge number of emerging opportunities which are providing better livelihood for people. With a rebalancing of global power, international institutions and national governments will need a greater focus on maintaining their transparency and inclusiveness.
Climate Change – Climate change is a huge talking point for many governments and environment conscious organisations. People living in worlds wealthiest nations generally understand what climate change is but many in Africa half perceive it to be a threat. Moving forward, achieving the right combination of adaptation and mitigation policies will be difficult for most governments.
Resource stress – Resource availability and allocation remains a huge handicap on the African continent. Combined pressures of population growth, economic growth and climate change will continue to call for sustainable resource management from governments and private entities.
Urbanisation – The African continent continues to evolve. Population and settlement trends have also continued to change. By 2030, more than 50% of the population of Africa will be living in cities and over 60% will be living in cities by 2050.These changes in the long term will necessitate numerous and varied changes by African governments. Change will then translate into social and economic development and more sustainable living.