Sign in to follow this  
Alpha Blondy

The African Century Thread

Recommended Posts

What is the African Century?

the African century is a term that is used to express belief or the hope that the 21st century will bring peace, prosperity and cultural revival to Africa, or is used to draw attention to the need for such an evolution.


Why Africa? Why now?

over the next decade, economists expect to see significant GDP growth in Africa and the continent is now widely recognised by investors as an emerging market of tremendous potential. Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest growing world region at 5.7% per annum (2001-2011). the commodities market has historically been a main driver of African economies, but the agricultural, financial, manufacturing and service sectors are all making good progress, and the African landscape is benefiting from improving education, healthcare, justice systems and new infrastructure.


What explains this growth?

improving political governance and fiscal controls continue to enhance the African business climate. the geo-political map is also changing: the majority of African countries were in a situation of conflict thirty years ago, now that is only the case for a small minority. a more peaceful context for many Sub-Saharan countries has led to increasing consumer demand not only for basic needs, but also for greater choice of products and services. this demand is being led by an emerging middle-class which includes a new generation of entrepreneurs, often with European or US education and business experience


please contribute to this thread with any interesting thoughts, comments, videos and pictures.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

George Ayittey;915957 wrote:
The strange affliction of xenophilia (love for the foreign) - George Ayittey


They will destroy their own domestic trade and then fiendishly promote foreign trade.


They will destroy their own health care system and then seek medical attention or die off in foreign hospitals.


They will destroy their own educational system and then send their children to foreign schools.


They will destroy their own banking system and then stash their loot in foreign banks.


They will harass, jail and even assassinate their own local experts and then spend billions of dollars on foreign experts.


They will destroy their own domestic industries and then lay the red carpet out to foreign companies.


They will hound and persecute their own domestic investors and then draw up elaborate codes to attract foreign investors.


They will destroy their own agriculture and then spend $25 billion to import foreign food.


Where is my “Sledge-hammer”?


George Ayittey - is a Ghanaian economist, author and president of the Free Africa Foundation in Washington DC. He's also one of my heroes and the intellectual powerhouse behind most of my views for the African century.






amazing video. please watch. so inspirational.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Daqane;915968 wrote:
Growth with out jobs, growth with out manufacturing, growth in the face of subsidized and closed markets?

different countries have followed different models to achieve growth but certainly the view that all economies must through the traditional process of: subsistence> agricultural> manufacturing >services is no longer the prevailing view.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright alpha expand on that and we can have a discussion, for an africanist that is a very "prevailing wisdom" kind of thing blurt out.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

^ i'm not an africanist nor am i trying to blurt out my ''prevailing wisdom'' here. i'll give you an example:


1. Somaliland's effective Telecommunication sector vs. Somaliland's apparent lack of infrastructure.


all things being considered, there are usually pre-conditions to 'development', in other words certain policies, usually by governments, have to be in place to create conducive conditions before this is realised. this is well documented by all development theorists with all predisposed learnings. laakin, when there is a vacuum of the state, there will always be innovative new methods of overcoming such obstacles. Somaliland has a very competitive and thriving telecommunications sector and yet it still continues to survive without a huge infrastructural investment. conversely, Ethiopia has invested heavily in infrastructural projects and even has designs on the Nile to harness more energy. having said all that, Ethiopia's telecommunications sector isn't as competitive nor as effective as Somaliland and Somalia's. its a case of supply and demand and not so much of over-reliance on an ineffective state controlled enterprise as in Ethiopia. of course, with a weak and cash-strapped government, the telecommunications companies have been able to capitalise on the lack of oversight, public safety records, accountability etc.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Africa is gonna take off big in the next 10-15yrs. 1 billion+ people that would need all kinds of things to develop. That's why China, US, Europe are all playing nice with Africans, because they know there is huge possibility to make money.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Africa’s Rising Rage: The Middle Classes Call For Revolution – By Richard Dowden


I had not intended to come back to the Africa Rising debate for a while. But on my recent trip to Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda I was shocked at how angry the young professionals are. These are highly educated, ambitious young men and women who could be found working in the corporate sector anywhere in the world. They should be taking Africa to the Promised Land. Instead I found them frustrated and furious with many calling for coups and revolutions.


Coming from London where we had been basking in a warm bath of Afro-optimism, I had expected to find a similar feeling in Africa itself. Growth has remained strong despite the economic problems in Europe, Africa’s biggest trading partner, and the prices for the continent’s abundant commodities have remained high. Governance is said to be improving.


There is no doubt that Africa has come a very long way from where it was in the 1980s and 90s. My prime piece of evidence for that is traffic jams. At that time you could drive into Nairobi, Kampala or Johannesburg at any hour and rarely be held up by anything except a red light. Now you have to leave hours earlier to be sure of getting into the city centre on time. Outside the towns and cities you can now actually drive in a straight line on many roads. As they used to say of the potholes in Uganda: “if you see a man driving in a straight line you know he must be drunk.”


But the questions about Africa’s dozen years of strong economic growth remain:

Firstly, has Africa’s growth been driven by a long commodity boom or is it now self-sustaining? Where is the large scale manufacturing?

Secondly, has governance really improved? Are the figures about numbers in school, clinics being built, power, water and sanitation delivered true?


Thirdly, are there two Africas? One in a bubble of western-style wealth inhabited by the rich and powerful and another Africa on the other side of the security fence – barefoot, one torn shirt, no money, no prospect of a job – “suffering and smiling” as Fela Kuti sang, but with big and increasingly angry eyes.


What shocked me in Lagos, Uganda and Nairobi was the fury of the young middle classes – the very people who are supposed to driving the new Africa into the 21st century. They were angry about the poor levels of education, about the lack of electricity, but above all about corruption at the very top. And they see the growing ranks of ill-educated, unemployable young people being churned out of badly-managed state education systems.


In Nigeria they have all but given up on the government. But what about people like Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of the Central Bank, and Nkonjo Iweala, the Finance Minister? I pleaded. Their reply was: of course they do what they can but their space is limited. They are not allowed anywhere near the real money – the oil. That, I was told, was managed in complete secrecy by President Goodluck Jonathan and the Vice President and the oil minister, Ms Diesani Alison-Madueke. They are filling a huge war chest so that Jonathan can run for president again in 2015.


Two remarks struck me. One was how utterly out of touch the President is. When street protests broke out a year ago in reaction to the sudden removal of the fuel subsidy, he claimed that people were being paid to demonstrate. My informant pointed out that all the evidence was that people had reacted in spontaneous fury to the government’s removal of the only benefit it delivers to the Nigerian people. Yes, the only one.

One said: “I am extremely optimistic about the future of Nigeria – once there has been a revolution and the current ruling elite is removed”. No one in the room showed dissent or even surprise.


In Uganda the entire middle class – except for those in government – realize that the country is heading for a crash or a coup. Even President Yoweri Museveni himself warned that if his own ruling party does not stop bickering the army may step in. That is the most extraordinary statement I have ever heard from an African president. The reaction of many Ugandans (under their breath) was: “bring it on”.

Museveni has stayed too long and he has cultivated no obvious successor. He is trapped, talking now about installing his deeply unpopular wife and or his son in his place. 27 years ago he did a good job and ruled well (except in the north) and this lasted for a decade. But now he has turned into the very president he criticized so severely as a young man – the one who stays too long in power.

Meanwhile, in Nairobi the population is battening down the hatches for the election next month. Most are optimistic that their new constitution will curtail the worst excesses of the professional politicians, although these people still made up about 80 percent of the winners in the recent party primaries.


So where exactly is The New Africa flourishing? Botswana? But it was always successful and never suffered from the political and economic catastrophes that hit Africa in the 20th century.


The fact is that the five big African countries: Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are in political turmoil or stasis. None of their governments have the vision or the capacity to position their countries to develop rapidly and sustainably as Indonesia, Malaysia and China have. The good things that are happening in many African countries – with the possible exception of South Africa – are happening in spite of their governments, not because of them.


Secondly, two of the most successful countries in terms of human development – Ethiopia and Rwanda – are dictatorships which allow minimum democracy and freedom of speech. This makes it difficult for Western governments to support them. Aid has been cut to Rwanda and if the next election in Ethiopia is not free and transparent, Western allies and donors may have to turn a blind eye or step away.

Some countries are doing reasonably well: Ghana, Senegal, Namibia and Zambia are OK. Cameroon and Gabon are quiet but not dynamic, still run by small wealthy elites who do not spread the new wealth. Cote d’Ivoire has emerged from its civil war and Somalia may bounce back quickly if the new government is strong enough to crush al-Shabaab and smart enough to manage clan politics. But meanwhile Mali, a former favourite of western countries, has imploded and both Sudans are in an increasingly bad way. It is hard to imagine Mauritania, Niger and Chad will not also be affected by Islamic militancy.


China has been the main player in Africa’s economic transformation, but how long will it be before Africans react against the growing power and exclusive behaviour of the Chinese and their total disregard for Africa’s environment and culture?


Africa rising? Bits of it yes, but watch out for Africans’ rising anger.




interesting article.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't fall for the hype. African economies were growing at a rapid pace in the early 1970's as well, but we all know how that turned out.


I don't see African states coalescing into major world powers anytime within the next few decades. Africa has deep divisions which will take generations to sort out. I mean, just look at Somalia, a homogeneous nation with the same language, culture, and religion and yet we're still incapable of governing ourselves. Look at Kenya; every election year the country is plagued with inter-tribal warfare. Even major African "powers" such as Nigeria are inherently unstable.


All of the economic growth in the world can't solve the fact that the countries that form Africa aren't really "nations", but just artificial entities drawn up by colonial powers. As a result, you have different tribes--often opposed to each other--sharing the same country.


The only real nation-states in Africa I can think of are Egypt and Botswana

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The high-growth rates experienced in Africa within the last decade is due to the commodities boom. That's it. The prices of natural resources--especially African natural resources--have skyrocketed in the last 10 years, contributing to high growth rates.


But I'm not saying that investing in Africa is exactly a bad idea. No, I actually think there's a lot of business opportunities to be made in Africa, I have family members who are heading successful businesses in the Congo, Zambia, Gabon and Tanzania. But I unfortunately don't think this century is going to be the African century. We still have a long way to go

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Afirca will do well, but the century will belong to Asia, minus the useless mid-east states, in no uncertain terms.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



James Thiong'o, an acclaimed Kenyan writer, denounced culture imperialism by forgoing Christianity and the English tongue. He know only writes in his native tongue he now partakes in Gikuyu religious practices.

-- African-Americans in growing numbers are giving up Christianity and joining west african traditional faiths



It seems as part of this 'African Century', African intellectuals are embracing their roots and letting go of this religious-cultural subjugation that Africa has endured for so long.


Will Somali intellectuals follow suit? Will Nuruddin farah practice in the temples of El Wak?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Africa’s Agriculture needs effective leadership


Africa is one of the few places in the world today offer such enormous potential in regard to food production. The continent’s 54 countries offer a near unrivalled diversity in regard to flora and fauna, as well as soil types and growing conditions. Whilst much of Africa is extraordinary fertile, urbanisation coupled with rapid population growth presents immense pressures that demand ever more of those engaged in and seeking to shape farming policy and practice. Effective and enlightened leadership is essential. As in some many areas of life knowledge sharing is of paramount importance, and it is therefore heartening to see programmes such as the Africa’s Land and Food Fellowship (ALFF) offering a number of African students an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of either International Rural Development or Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at the Royal College of Agriculture at Cirencester in the UK. This innovative scheme managed by the African Fellowship Trust currently offers scholarships for up to ten Africans annually. As well as time spent in the UK each participant in the Fellowship Programme undertake industrial secondments organised by the Standard Bank Centre for Agri-business Leadership and Mentorship Development at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.


The following is an opinion piece shared with HABA by David Cheruiyot (aged 30), one of the current African Fellows. He hails originally from Kericho County (Kenya), but has been working in Garissa District, Garissa County with the agriculture sector ministry in Kenya.


How do you feel that you have benefitted from the Fellowship programme?


The Royal Agriculture College’s African Fellowship Scholarship came at just the right time with my interest in natural resource management, food security and climate change, especially in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) in Sub-Saharan Africa. The International Rural Development (IRD) course covers a wide range of rural development concepts from around the world and therefore develops students’ necessary professional understanding, skills and attitudes required to deliver sustainable development in the rural sector. With the necessary knowledge and skills to take back to Kenya, the rural community, fellow colleagues and government in general will benefit from my expertise.


What are the greatest challenges facing agriculture in East Africa?


1) High cost of agricultural inputs


The cost of agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and seeds in negating agricultural productivity especially among small scale farmers are a real challenge. With the world’s population projected to reach 9 billion by the middle of the century, smallholder farming is perceived to be the one that will feed the world’s population. Most of the smallholders farmers cannot afford these agricultural inputs, thus feeding the world’s population in the future is not assured.


2) High population growth which will exert more pressure on land resources


With the predicted population increase there will be more pressure on land to expand agricultural production. This will cause uneconomical sub-division of land and therefore is likely to reduce productivity.


3) Over-dependence on rain-fed agriculture


Most small scale farmers are not tapping into the potential of irrigation farming, instead they depend on rain-fed farming. Under rain-fed farming, productivity is uncertain due to the issues of climate change. Governments also are not putting enough funds into developing irrigation agriculture.


4) Limited access to credit


Small scale farmers’ access to credit is limited. This is due to the fact that credit security placed on crops and livestock is volatile.


5) Limited access to agricultural technologies


There is an inadequate research-extension-farmer linkage to facilitate demand-driven research and the use of improved technologies is limited among small scale farmers. There is an inadequate extension staffing level at the grass roots and this hinders dissemination of appropriate information and technologies to farmers.


6) Markets


There exists wastage within the supply chain especially at the transportation of produce to the markets. Poor roads in the rural areas affects marketing of produce, also lack of uniformity in produce production causes market prices to fall, as does lack of diversification in crop production to suit different markets at different times of the season.


Note: The six challenges listed above are ranked randomly and not in the order of their greatest impact.


How do you plan to use the skills and experience that you have gained from taking part in the programme?


The knowledge and skills gained are enormous, but the most challenging part is their implementation. I believe that getting it right from the outset of the programme is the most crucial thing to determine the success of that programme. A bottom-up approach should be adopted amongst stakeholders, especially the government. In demand-driven extension, farmers should come up with their development needs, ranked and forwarded to the relevant ministry department. The department should then implement some of the activities within their mandate. Other activities should be given to stakeholders in order to meet their mandate too; then it is possible to create a working synergy. This approach ensures that there is no duplication in activities among stakeholders. This is what I intend to advocate more when I return to Kenya.


For further information about this important programme visit:



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this