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20: 20 vision

Selected predictions for the near future; selected events from the recent past: this is 20:20 vision.


20 years hence: 2031

Less is more


Four super-states – Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt and Kongo – emerge out of the current total of fifty-three (or fifty-four, if South Sudan is included) states to deal with crises resulting from natural and human agency, and to ensure Africa's global competitiveness and ability to deliver basic guarantees expected by citizens.

(Source: Fixing Africa.)



Durban habour, Africa's busiest port

Africa's share of global trade surpasses eight percent.

(Source: World Bank: Africa's Future and the World Bank's Role in it.)

The image is of Durban harbour, one of Africa's busiest ports.


Aids ribbon

Male circumcision programmes avert 5.7 million new HIV infections in Sub-Saharan African countries.

(Source: Aids 2031: Turning off the Tap.)


Off to university

The transition rate from secondary school to university increases to 15% in Kenya.

(Source: Kenya Vision 2030.)


City life

Africa by night

Fifty percent of Africans live in urban areas, with projections that just short of sixty percent will reside in cities by the middle of the century, thereby changing the continent from a predominantly rural to an urban one.

(Source: African Futures 2050, Institute for Security Studies.)


Double bubble or toil 'n trouble?

African GDP per capita (at market exchange rates) reaches US$3,500 in the best case scenario, and US$1,500 in a less optimistic one.

(Source: African Futures 2050, Institute for Security Studies.)


20 years ago: 1991


Felix Idubor's bas relief, Lagos, Nigeria

Felix Idubor died in 1991. Born sixty-three years earlier in 1928 in Nigeria's Benin City, he moved to Lagos in the late 1940s, pursuing there his love of carving. As a sculptor, Idubor worked in wood, bronze, and concrete, producing iconic works that included statues, carved doors, and collectibles. One of the continent's greatest contemporary sculptors, Idubor's work is displayed in continental and international art galleries, and prized by collectors.

(Source: Wikipedia.)

The image, by Marc and Evelyne Bernheim, is of Felix Idubor's cement bas relief sculpture decorating Independence House, Lagos, Nigeria.


Eritrea attained independence from Ethiopia in 1991, with the War of Independence ending on 24 May.

(Source: Eritrea adventure and holidays.)



Frankie Fredericks, Namibian sprinter

Egypt hosted the fifth All-Africa Games from September to October 1991, with Namibia's athletes – including the spectacularly quick Frankie Fredericks – securing four gold medals for this newest participant in the pan-African event.

(Source: Wikipedia.)

Image of Frankie Fredericks in 2002.



Farrokh Bulsar, born in Zanzibar in 1948, died on 24 November 1991. The Bulsar family left Zanzibar for London in 1964. By 1970, Bulsar had changed his name and joined a music band with Brian Eno and Roger Taylor. You know him better as Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen.

(Source: Official website of Queen.)



Abuja Gate, Abuja City, Nigeria

Abuja was made the federal capital of Nigeria in 1991, while the number of states increased to thirty.

(Source: A History of Nigeria, Toyin Falola.)

The image is of Abuja Gate, Abuja City, Nigeria.



Liberia women call for peace

In 1991, during the first Liberian Civil War, the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy, a rebel group formed by former Liberian army members, entered western Liberia, seizing territory held by Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia.

(Source: Breaking News Liberia.)

The image of Liberian women protesting against violence and war in Liberia is from a photograph by Pewee Flomoku.



The USA lifted sanctions against South Africa in 1991.


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