Nowadays the story of “Africa Rising” is gaining popularity. After this narration, the African continent appears and reaches greater heights than ever before. On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that the African continent is faced with a multitude of challenges. As a result, many African countries are barely able to stand on their own two feet and achieve a certain level of sustainable prosperity for the majority of their population. These above problems are addressed in this article, and accordingly it is argued that the narrative of “Africa Rising” appears to be quite wrong.
One of the first challenges facing the African continent is the rapid growth of the urban population. Currently, the population in urban areas makes up about 40% of the total population and is expected to continue to increase. Over a period of about twenty years this will result in the urban population becoming larger than the rural population. The rapid growth of the urban population mentioned above poses major challenges for sustainable development and has additional implications for the entire demographic structure in Africa.
A second challenge currently facing the African continent is extreme poverty and inequality between rich and poor. According to the 2017 Globalist, 41% of the total population in sub-Saharan Africa live in extreme poverty and survive just $ 1.90 or less per capita per day. Some examples of African countries in a state of extreme poverty are: Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Liberia and Niger. However, not all people in Africa live in extreme poverty. According to the AfrAsia Bank Africa Wealth Report 2017, there are currently 145,000 millionaires in Africa and their total assets total around 800 billion US dollars. Mauritius is the richest country in Africa, ahead of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Egypt and Angola.
A third challenge that African countries are grappling with is the imbalance between money going in and out of the continent. According to the 2017 East African Business News, African countries have received roughly $ 162 billion in loans, personal transfers and grants. However, one must be aware of the fact that more money is flowing out of the continent in various ways. This imbalance between incoming and outgoing money is causing serious setbacks and hampering the development of the African continent.
One final challenge that the African continent must face is the rapid growth of its young population. “Between 2015 and 2050 the population of the continent is estimated from 1.2 billion to 2.2 billion people. Approximately 41% of the people on the continent are under 15 years old, while another 19% are teenagers between 15 and 24 years of age. “This rapid growth of the young population places a significant burden of dependency on Africa. However, if adequate investments are made in health and education, and an economic environment is created for decent jobs and investment, this phenomenon, known as the demographic dividend, can be an incentive for sustainable growth represent accelerated economic development. It can therefore be concluded that for Africa’s real advancement it requires a mass of Africans and friends of Africa in the private sector to create and develop long-term solutions that create jobs and career opportunities for the youth.
So far, Africa has been viewed by many as a developing continent and an emerging market. So much remains to be done, especially by people of African descent who care about the future and future generations before the fictional story of “Wakanda” becomes everyday reality in Africa. One thing is certain: Africa will be resurrected in due course!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tony K Ansah Jr. is a self-published author, a public administrator and a Rhode Island, US-based social entrepreneur. He is also the founder and owner of Ansah Africa, a consulting and marketing startup founded in 2017.
E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]