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Most of the news you read from Africa is about civil war, Boko Haram, Al Shabab and lots of suffering, but for many people in Africa, life is getting better.
These are 4 reasons how Africa is developing some positive long term trends that will change the lives of many on the continent.
By 2050, Africa will account for half of the worlds population. This population boom is very important for Africa because for every 100 Africans of working age there are 80 people that depend on them for support. This is known as the “dependency ratio”, the global average for 100 workers is 53.9 dependants.
Growing Middle Class
Africa’s urbanization rate is comparable to China at 37 percent. From 2020 to 2050 it is expected that Africa will have the fastest urbanization rate in the world. Over the last 10 years, real income per person has jumped from 10 percent to 30 percent. Extreme poverty still remains a problem, 32 percent of the Sub-Saharan population lives in poverty but just 3 years ago that figure stood at 42 percent. According to the Africa Development Bank, one third of the continent is considered middle class, spending 2 to 20 dollars a day. Over the next 40 years, more than a billion will join them.
Due to lack of funding for infrastructure, many African countries skipped landlines and went straight to mobile phones. Technology has also made it possible for many African countries to skip decades of financial development in just a few years. In Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, more people have mobile money accounts than bank accounts, enabling them to quickly open mobile money accounts complete with interest and deposit insurance.
In the last 20 years or so, armed conflicts on the continent have dropped from 30 to about 15. This is probably the best development for Africa. Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Somalia and South Sudan are a few countries that still plagued by organized violence but the risk that they will spread to neighbouring countries is lower than 10 years ago. Boko Haram of Nigeria and Al Shabab or Somalia have been especially brutal and have been responsible for 12,000 deaths in 2014 and 2015. This situation gives African governments a chance to cooperate with the EU and the US as they now have mutual interests in dealing with terrorists.