Will the ‘ African Lions’ take over from the ‘Asian Tigers’?

(Livemint)Johannesburg/ Lagos:   African cities show signs of development, progress and a better future.  The last 2 decades of faster economic growth and investments prove that the continent is trying to overcome its challenges. The African Lions look ready to emulate the Asian Tigers in the 21st century.  The continent has abundant and untapped resources, a rising youth population and an expanding and educated middle class.

 

While it is still challenged by rampant poverty and inequality, violence and underdeveloped infrastructure; the overall life expectancy and   education levels are better; governance has improved in most of Africa.  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts faster economic growth for Africa compared to advanced economies like the US.

 

By 2030, Nigeria could be one of the world’s top 20 economies with a large consumer base.  African economies would be stronger and their focus would be on capable states, pragmatic leadership, strong institutions, peace and security and respect for the rule of law. While Islamist militant violence remains an extreme challenge, the overall economic prospects for Africa are positive.  FDI to the continent has increased and thousands of new companies have been registered. Business opportunities are the highest here; the market is less saturated and there is less competition.

 

All is not rosy; disease and extreme poverty are major setbacks. US President  Barack Obama will host more than 40 African leaders at a summit in Washington.  The three-day gathering is aimed at boosting economic ties and addressing Africa’s infrastructure and investment shortage. Africa’s oil wealth, if wisely used could help it to bring in money for investment and education.

 

Africa’s growth has been jobless – not many jobs in Africa have been created.  Will Africa’s growth create Jobs in Africa for the talented, educated and high potential youth? Progress will depend on how African nations address security and governance challenges; many Africans seem sceptical of real progress in the near future though.

 

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