The Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings has just released its annual “Foresight Africa” report, illuminating six themes and recommending solutions for challenges facing African nations. “Africa is brimming with promise,” the report notes, and “in some places, peril.” Here are three charts out of many that populate the report’s analyses that showcase some of the important demographic changes and urbanization happening across the continent. See the full report here.
IN AFRICA: YOUNGEST POPULATIONS, OLDEST LEADERS
Thione Niang, co-founder of Akon Lighting Africa,” writes in the report that “youth in Africa are isolated and underrepresented in governance across the continent.” Sixty percent of Africa’s 1.25 billion people are under age 25—the youngest population in the world—but the median age of leaders in Africa is 62, older than the OECD median. However, Niang writes, “In many cases, the younger generation is more knowledgeable, equipped, and prepared to address the fast moving issues of today than the establishment leadership.”
BY 2050 ONE-THIRD OF GLOBAL YOUTH WILL BE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
John Page, a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program at Brookings, writes that Africa’s failure to industrialize combined with a growing population of more educated and urbanized youth “is a crisis in the making.” He argues that industries “without smokestacks,” like tradable services, agro-industry, and horticulture may be key to addressing the problem.
AFRICA IS GAINING MORE LARGE CITIES
Acha Leke of McKinsey & Company and Landry Signé, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow with the Africa Growth Initiative, observe that potential investors in Africa should think of cities, not just the continent’s 54 countries. As the map below shows, by 2030 Africa will have 17 cities with more than 5 million inhabitants, but also 90 cities with at least one million. “Rapid urbanization is one good reason why companies should make cities a central focus of their African growth strategies,” they write.
To learn more, see “Foresight Africa: Top priorities for the continent in 2019.”