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Looking to a Brighter Future in Africa

Looking to a Brighter Future in Africa

NOTE: This is a guest post from Barbara Alison Rose, the Executive Director of Aid for Africa.

When thinking about Africa, the facts that come to mind are often not good. Most Africans live on less than $2 a day. The average life span in many countries is only 50 years. Famine and starvation persist. The list goes on and on.

In an article at the end of last year, The Economist reviewed the future prospects for Africa, but highlighted some different facts. Over the past decade, The Economist wrote, six of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries were in Africa. In eight of the past ten years, Africa’s economic growth was higher than in East Asia, including Japan. Even allowing for the economic slowdown in northern counties, the International Monetary Fund expects Africa to grow by 6 percent in 2012, about the same as Asia.

Surprising? Not to three African ambassadors to United States, who discussed the future of their countries at a recent Africa Studies Association Annual Meeting.  The ambassadors from Sierra Leone, Kenya and Rwanda were bullish on the economic future of the continent. What is the basis of the surprising optimism of the ambassadors and The Economist? As we begin 2012, we might well focus on some facts that provide another way to view Africa and its prospects for the future:

  • Africa’s middle class includes some 60 million Africans today, and is expected to grow to 100 million by 2015.
  • Foreign investment in Africa has grown tenfold in the past decade.
  • There are more than 600 million mobile-phone users–more than in America or Europe–thus providing the majority of Africans with access to communications and mobile banking.
  • The health of many millions of Africans has improved in recent years because of wider use of mosquito nets and advances in HIV/AIDS identification and treatment.
  • Worker productivity has increased 3 percent a year, compared with 2.3 percent in the U.S.
  • Since 1991, some 30 democratic national elections have been held and the movement toward democracy is growing.
  • Sierra Leone, a country known more for its decade-long civil war, “blood diamonds,” and corruption, has sustained an economic growth rate of 6 percent in recent years, fueled by iron ore and bauxite trade. Its government has focused on reducing corruption and reforming its government institutions. (Ambassador Bockari Kortu Stevens)
  • Despite political setbacks, Kenya has set out to become a middle-income country by 2030. It has rewritten its constitution and built more roads in the last six years than it did in the forty years between 1963 and 2003. (Ambassador Elkanah Odembo)
  • In Rwanda, women comprise 56 percent of the legislators in parliament. Malaria is on the verge of being eradicated. The government’s poverty reduction strategies are wisely focused on local economies. (Ambassador James Kimonyo)

Let there be no misunderstanding: the challenges are great, and corruption and bad government will not disappear overnight.  But the African continent is moving forward even in these times of world economic hardship.

This post was originally published on the Aid for Africa blog here.

Aid for Africa is a unique partnership of some 80 select charities, all dedicated to solving the complex, inter-related challenges facing Africa. Our members realize that, as effective as they each are on their own, they can be even more powerful when they approach Africa’s issues as a group.

Aid for Africa works with its partners on the ground in Africa to find solutions to the education, health, development, and wildlife challenges facing the region. Whether we are distributing books to school children, introducing medical strategies to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, supporting small businesses for women, or finding new approaches to protect endangered elephants and lions, Aid for Africa is working to build a better future for Africa’s children, families, and communities.

Learn more about us:

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Photo credit: World Hope International

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9:03PM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Aid for Africa is doing amazing things for the African people.
Please also check out to see the global impact given as humanitarian contributions.

11:25AM PST on Jan 25, 2012

To Demian V.: it's not always America's fault; wasn't it the Europeans who colonized African nations to begin with? Regardless of who's fault it is, the point is that it is absolutely amazing and refreshing to hear something positive about the state of Africa, especially when they are stereotypically painted with so much poverty and corruption. I hope to see many such countries in Africa become developed nations (as opposed to third world countries) in my life time. Thanks for sharing this article! Tis some good news!

7:54AM PST on Jan 16, 2012

YUP! The wonderful works of America... Destroyed all the african countries that now depend on handouts... The perfect system to generate endless suffering and maintain the control...

4:25AM PST on Jan 16, 2012


9:30PM PST on Jan 15, 2012

this is great news! much more advancement needs to take place though

4:14PM PST on Jan 15, 2012

This is good news..thank you for posting!

8:26AM PST on Jan 15, 2012

Yes, it is nice to be reminded of the good. When all we hear about is the bad, that's not good for us. Thank you!

1:01AM PST on Jan 15, 2012

It is always nice to be reminded that there are good things going on in many different parts of Africa.

11:31PM PST on Jan 14, 2012

Unfortunately while Africa is progressing African governments must be aware of the dangers of over exploitation by foreign so called investors. Africans must realise that Africa has the richest resources in the world, only because other countries have already been completely depleted through greed on the part of the big money concerns. While progress is inevitable leaders must protect their own countries and environments first. Look at what is happening to Africas wildlife and forests, the world economic leaders are unscrupulous and they will exploit any and everything for the gain of a dollar. African must band together to protect what is theirs and not allow foreign investors and interest at the expense of their people and the environment, we have the best country in the world but others will ruin it if they are allowed.

7:15PM PST on Jan 14, 2012

Water wells must be drilled, irrigation of crops increased, and global push for veg'n diet made so as to save water, land, air, soil and all life. Nature knows how to give and sustain life, man does not. Crops are the best we have.

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