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Future Africa trends to look out for

by Ruth Aine - 16 December 2013

Now is a good time to be optimistic about the future of Africa. We have seen so many emerging trends which not only amplify the Africa Rising or Africa Emerging story but also help us to define who we are and the future that lies ahead.

I am very well aware of the discrepancies that lie within. While we are saying that Africa is rising, there are still issues around who 'exactly' is rising. There is evidence that while most of the countries in Africa are experiencing economic growth, the real per capita income is at its lowest since 1970 and more than 500 million people still live in poverty on the continent.

We have the co-existence of dependency on food aid and the growth of domestic revenues and food surpluses in many countries. We have the discovery of vast natural resources that have only been partially exploited. There is deepening and renewed interest of what is going on on the continent politically. And I will not forget the rise of the use of technology and the great role that the youth are playing on the continent.

We look at the trends which I believe will continue to take center stage and define the affairs of this continent as we go forward.

Rise of technology will continue to influence a lot on the socio-economic sector of the continent. A look at what happened in the Magrheb region during the Arab uprising, gives evidence that technology has the capacity to transform nations. It can no longer be ignored. The democratization of information riding on new and advanced information and communications technology is something that cannot be pushed aside and will continue to drive further innovation in future. Take for instance, the death of Africa's iconic leader, Nelson Mandela. It took less than 15 minutes for the news to spread from Cairo to the Caribbean and from Nigeria to Norway. This is what makes a blog, run by one man in the diaspora, more feared and respected and followed by a whole nation because the nation's media gag laws cannot apply to him holed up in the Northern Hemisphere with hundreds of informants who are ready to contribute news snippets whenever it breaks. Such trends we shall continue to see grow in the next few years.

The rise of civil society organizations with enhanced capabilities and more international links are getting more and more visible. They have become a respected arm of force in which they engage and talk about the present issues happening in society. Organizations like Oxfam have been an authority on agriculture and governance issues. The recent example of Action Aid's initiative in doing research on illicit financial flows in Africa and publicizing the reports has been a force to reckon with. They seem to be shaping a certain part of the continent’s agenda.

The last trend is the deepening interest of people in the vast wealth that Africa has and also the democratic processes. This we see, for example, by the rejection of blood diamonds on the continent and the campaigns on conflict timber in the region. This means that there is an increased demand for accountability and transparency in the governance issues and development processes of the continent. We are no longer seeing a people that will just sit and look on while nothing is happening. They want to act. And act in the interest of what is right for all.

These trends re-ignite hope in my thoughts for the continent. Because from here on: there is a longing for change and a sense of responsibility amongst the citizenry. The more we talk about these processes and get involved in the democracy, the easier and faster it is for the continent to actually emerge and rise. And yes, I agree with the Kenya Sci-fi tv series whose story line is cast in the year 2062 in which it portrays Africa as the oasis and the only place where the sun continues to shine. These trends that we see today will definitely get us there.


Ruth Aine Tindyebwa
Blogger/Online Communications

Read her personal blog; IN DEPTH which is at www.ruthaine.com

Read more about the author and her view on being a futurist.



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