As we witness seedlings of massive transformation throughout the world, Africa remains the last populated continent to be fully integrated into our global economy. Africa suffers from problems like corrupt governments, lack of infrastructure, remaining tribal and religious tension, poor education, and bad health care. But these problems will be addressed directly and indirectly in the approaching decade by a confluence of forces.
The first force is the accelerating return of technology. Weaknesses in African infrastructure (including water, sanitation, electricity, medicine, etc.) will be (and currently are) sources of opportunity for entrepreneurs and large companies.
Consider how the recent proliferation of cellphones has transformed communication in Africa; millions skipped the landline stage of development, leaping straight into the digital age. Africa’s lack of development makes it an ideal candidate for rapidly retrofitting the 21st century.
As solar power becomes cheaper and battery technology improves, Africa will harvest their abundant sunshine for clean energy to help it grow economically. 3D Printers will replace manufacturing and make use of Africa’s great mineral wealth. Ubiquitous internet will help eviscerate ignorance and spread knowledge, while drones and driverless transportation will put everything in Africa on the map in new ways.
The second force is their developing economy. Africa is rising despite being rife with struggle. Many countries have turned themselves around by invigorating their economies, supplying low-cost goods to the world. Countries that become successful producers of low-cost goods do so until their economies elevate.
Japan was once the primary supplier of cheap goods to the U.S.A., then it was Mexico, then it was Korea, and now it’s China. Inexpensive production for the world has proceeded along a cascading food-chain of developing countries. Africa in the 2020s will be the last continent low-cost production can flourish.
Africa is also the second most populated continent. Second to Asia, they have over 900 million consumers. The African middle class is expanding, and these people are enjoying the rapid growth of banking, cell phones, automobiles, and consumer goods. This abundant population of 900 million people, many of whom live relatively poor compared to the rest of the world, will soon join us as “glocal” (globally connected, local) citizens. These people will shop online, engage with global networks, and participate in our global economy.
The third force is the African diaspora. This 2020s golden age in Africa will strongly impact migration. We see hints of it beginning at expanding airports and new flight routes of Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Virgin Nigeria, and other carriers.
Countless native Africans, educated abroad, will return to the continent to participate in their home economy. As the diaspora stirs, Africa will swell into a larger beacon for global independent contractors and entrepreneurs, who will stimulate and invigorate their economy, delivering Africa’s 900 million consumers into a productive and optimistic future. Guess that’s why Nigeria announced their plans that, by 2030, they will launch a Nigerian to the moon.