The African Economy is growing faster than any other continent according to the African Development Bank

Africa has infinite potential. As you can see on my 'About Me' page, I spent the majority of my life in Africa. It has given me everything and I have a vested interest in seeing the continent grow. With numerous resources, an improving business climate and better economic governance, the numbers showing growth have been very positive. Here's a few stats that show how well the continent is doing:

  • A report from the African development bank said 33% of Africa's countries have GDP growth rates higher than 6%.

  • The costs of starting a business dropped upwards of 66% over the last 7 years.

  • The continent's middle class is growing at a very quick rate - approximately 350 million Africans now earn between $2 and $20 a day.

  • The share of the population living below the poverty line in Africa has dropped from 51% in 2005 to 39% in 2012.

  • Africa's collective GDP was $1.6 trillion in 2008, which was roughly equal to Brazil and Russia's GDP.

The African continent has benefited greatly due to the rise in commodity prices in the last 10 years. In 1999, the price of oil was $20 a barrel. 9 years later in 2008, it was $145. Prices of minerals, grain and other raw materials have also soared due to their increased global demand. 

As we all know, Africa has been a continent afflicted by war and corruption in which countries have suffered significantly. Loss of lives and infrastructure set countries back 50-100 years. Fortunately, the amount of wars and unrest in African countries has dropped recently and governments have taken action to end armed conflicts, leading to an improvement of conditions. Macroeconomic conditions got better and microeconomic reforms were undertaken to create a better business climate. A lot of countries stopped their deadly hostilities and created political stability to reinvigorate economic growth. African economies also improved when governments reduced the average inflation rate from 22% in the 1990s to 8% in 2000. They trimmed their foreign debt by 25% and reduced their budget deficits by 66%. 

 The beautiful Johannesburg skyline at night. Photo Credit:  Nico Roets

The beautiful Johannesburg skyline at night. Photo Credit: Nico Roets

Governments in the continent adopted more and more policies to energize their markets. They privatized state owned enterprises, increased the openness of trade, lowered corporate taxes, strengthened regulatory and legal systems and provided crucial physical and social infrastructure. For example, Nigeria privatized more than 116 enterprises between 1999 and 2006 and Morocco and Egypt signed free trade agreements with major export partners. These are crucial first steps to allow private businesses to emerge. 

It's all good seeing such positive numbers and government policy changes, but while researching, I came across a theory that stated that could all this just be a bubble? Well, it could be. But I don't think so. They say that Africa grew exponentially from the oil boom in the 1970s and then everything came down quickly once oil and other commodity prices dropped in the next 20 years. This could happen again, but I think the continent has learned its lesson and has positive long-term prospects for growth because of the external trends in the global economy and the positive changes the continent is making in regards to its societies and economies.

Anyone that has lived in Africa within the past 15 years can tell you that China has a big influence on the region. There were an estimated 1 million Chinese workers in Africa contributing to trade of about $200 billion in 2013. The Chinese investment has allowed Africa to get key infrastructure built such as roads and the implementation of 21st century technology. This all has lead to people being confident in doing business in Africa.

It's easy to get carried away with all the positives and I saw that when doing the research. Being a firm believer in seeing another perspective, I can't help but notice that there are some tough facts to swallow. The growth has been uneven with inequality rising in many areas. Millions of people are still living in extreme poverty and even though violence has decreased, you have to still remember the brutal and tragic violence going on in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Nigeria. Sure, the middle class has grown quickly but so has the overall population meaning that the amount of impoverished Africans has also gone up at the same time. In my opinion (and you don't have to agree with me), I believe that if industries continue grow, there will be more jobs created and the number of middle class citizens will be higher than the impoverished ones. It is hopeful, I get it, but I really do think it is possible. Education will play a major factor. 

I have found a lot of inspiration during researching this topic and I would like to share 5 videos highlighting the future of the African economy:

The Economic Future of Africa

By Hasnain Raza

Here's my top 5 videos showcasing Africa's economic future

  • Dambisa Moyo on how China can transform Africa

    By Hasnain Raza

    Moyo explains why she's optimistic about the future of Africa. She looks at the positive impact that China can have on the continent and details the key drivers that will spur Africa's economic growth

  • Is U.S. Missing Out as Africa’s Economy Develops?

    By Hasnain Raza

    Ndaba Mandela, founder of Africa Rising, and Jeremy Johnson, co-founder at 2U, discuss why U.S. investment in Africa lags behind China and many other topics

  • Charles Robertson: Africa's next boom

    By Hasnain Raza

    Economist Charles Robertson has a thesis: Africa's about to boom. Rising education levels & expanded global investment lead him to predict rapid growth for a billion people, sooner than you may think.

  • Daring to invent the future of Africa: Kah Walla

    By Hasnain Raza

    Kah Walla is the first woman to ever run for the Presidency of Cameroon. She is internationally recognized for her expertise in management and her strong stance on Africa, its women and its youth. 

  • Robert Shiller on Africa's Economic Future

    By Hasnain Raza

    Robert Shiller on Africa's Economic Future[](https://www.youtube.com/user/YaleUniversity)

I really hope you enjoyed reading this and I'd love to chat more. As always, we can chat about this on Twitter @hasnainr9 or leave a comment below. I really want to know your thoughts on Africa's economic future.

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