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There is a new Africa, a continent that is constantly on the move and that, beyond conflict, inequality and poverty, is also capable of traveling, acquiring new knowledge and starting new businesses. A territory together with its people fascinating.

Historically, the perception of Africa has not been very positive, although fortunately this perception began to transform at the beginning of this century, providing very encouraging growth figures regarding its economy, consumption, industry and agricultural and technological development, among other issues. Thanks to these improvements and their enormous demographic potential, everything seems to indicate that a new era of development is presented for the African continent, although this development on the ground may go little by little.

There are three fundamental factors that propitiate the fact that Africa is undergoing a transition towards prosperity, such as a high percentage of young people, vast cities that seek their intercontinental reflection in other large cities, and the intervention and influence of large economies, such as for example China.

Technological leap

One of the aspects to take into account and which is evolving at a great rate is development and technological advancement. There are countries such as South Africa, Botswana or Gabon, whose mobile subscription percentage ranges mobile subscription percentage rangesbetween 130% and 180%, surpassing certain European countries and other countries such as Algeria, Mali, Western Sahara and Morocco present figures more than one mobile per habitant.

To give us an idea of the evolution, in the year 2000 in Africa there were two landlines for every hundred inhabitants, around 50 for every 100 that there were in the West. I t was just then that the number of African mobile phone users began to grow dramatically. Today, Africa is connected, their inhabitants have gone from lacking landlines and computers to being connected by mobile phones. In addition, due to the needs of citizens, various mobile applications have been created that represent structural innovations and a real disruption.

Many local investors have also promoted manufacturing on the continent itself, especially in the mobile phone and computer sector and in the pharmaceutical sector, with some laboratories in Algeria, South Africa, Tunisia, and companies from other parts of the continent in countries such as Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco, Mauritius, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

GDP increase

Regarding GDP growth, optimism has been gradually replacing pessimism, as it is expected that, within five years, large African countries will experience increases of over 30%, as in the case of Mauritania, Mozambique, Egypt , Niger, Kenya, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Benin and, in the case of Ethiopia, Rwanda and Senegal, even higher than 50%.

GDP increases and foreign investment also, which fosters a fruitful globalization. But there are still issues for improvement, since it is not an inclusive growth that leads to internal development or the increase in GDP per capita. Although Africa has doubled its gross domestic product over the past twelve years, the 4% growth forecast for 2020 is still far from the 7% needed to double average income in a decade. It is a young continent and African countries need to produce an average of 18 million high-productivity jobs by 2035, at the same time that urbanization of their cities becomes a useful tool for change and inclusive economic growth. .

The new great common market and the involvement of China

Africa is creating its own common market, the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is the result of the African Free Trade Agreement among the 55 members of the African Union, and with 1.2 billion consumers, is the largest trade agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization. The five countries that to date led the African Union (Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Algeria and Egypt) have been losing influence due to their internal problems, at the same time that authoritarianism is growing in neighboring states. The hope is that this great agreement (AfCFTA) will boost industrialization and promote job creation.

Africa is already a large and interesting market, which has led to an increase in foreign direct investment, including China, which, through the relocation of their factories and the financing of others, is favoring an industrialization in Africa, a process that can help reduce poverty considerably. Africa will soon be the world’s factory, just as China was in the past.

Ibrahim Index of African Governance

The Ibrahim African Governance Index (IIAG) shows us the improvements in the main African countries, but also the setbacks, such as, for example, the revolts during election days, and that is that, although Africa has considerably improved its levels of governance, It is necessary to promote and ensure inclusive growth that avoids the conflict that may arise from the existence of large groups of frustrated young people who, even though they have received better training than their parents, have worse jobs, if they do.

From ADCAM, youth presents us with a great challenge. A fundamental part of the African population that we must care for and develop their enormous potential through quality education and training, in order to properly channel their job aspirations, political demands and sense of equality.

Learn more about our ADCAM educational project .