For the past several decades, Africa has been perceived as a charity case globally. This reputation had some basis in fact. After decolonization, African nations struggled to find their footing. This was particularly true during the Cold War period. Global powers were using Africa as a battleground for ideology. Today, things are changing. Africans are reclaiming their sovereignty and eschewing the white savior fantasies of organizations like Comic Relief.
In the last 30 or 40 years, international funding has been a key source of development for African nations. In the present, however, democracy, open elections, and anti-corruption measures are spreading throughout the continent. Inclusivity is starting to become a buzzword. As an older ruling class gives way to a more optimistic millennial age group, things are changing rapidly in Africa.
One of Africa’s greatest resources is its youthful population. The past two decades have seen a baby boom in Africa. The average age in Nigeria in 2019 is just 17.9 years old. In the coming years, more people than ever before will be reaching working age. This is an incredible boon to the continent. Harnessing this great pool of human resources will be a challenge. If Africa does this effectively, the population has the potential to lead a surge in agricultural and industrial production.
Africa’s population has surged in the last 20 years or so. Driven by advances in agricultural and medical technology, this baby boom has transformed the continent. It’s possible that it will also have the effect of creating a huge new market. Currently, the United States and China are seen as the most important and lucrative markets in the world. By 2030, roughly 500 million Africans will have extra income to spend on non-essential goods. This means that the continent can finally be integrated into the global consumer marketplace.
Of course, Africa also faces several challenges. First and foremost among them is the problem of climate change. Areas like the Sahel, the border between the Sahara Desert and the savanna, are under a great deal of stress due to global warming. Regions like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and parts of Nigeria may see a surge in the size of the poor population.