By Robert Clampett
Economic forecasters worldwide are turning more of their attention and money to the continent of Africa—and no wonder. The Entire continent is experiencing an economic boom, fueled by increasing urbanization, agricultural mechanization and rising living standards.
United Nation’s forecasters predict that by 2050, Africa will be home to one-quarter of the world’s population, led by Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo （DRC）, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt, all predicted to be in the top ten largest population list of nations by 2100. Cities, including Lagos, Nairobi and Dar El Salaam, are quickly becoming megalopolises requiring massive development opportunities for expensive infrastructure, rapid transit and construction of housing for their growing populations.
Nations around the globe have noticed and are paying attention. China’s Belt and Road nuts and bolts development investments in the continent, now in high gear, have improved several African nations’ infrastructure—including hydropower, seaports and railroads. The United States, a little late to the party, recently hosted a summit with 50 African leaders, with President Joe Biden saying, “When Africa succeeds, the United States succeeds,” adding, “Quite frankly, the whole world succeeds as well.”
Following the U.S.-African Leaders Summit, Biden promised U.S. investments in the continent to the tune of $55 billion over the next three years, stating that the U.S. is “all in on Africa’s future.”
Economists note that it is in the interests of nations, including the U.S., China, Russia and the European Union, to invest in African countries as they emerge as growing middle-class markets in need of goods and services, including much-needed medical infrastructure seeking an end to potential pandemics as Ebola.
Leaders of African nations are faced with decisions as to which countries provide the best trade partners. Says the president of Rwanda Paul Kagame his country “will not be bullied into making choices between the United States and China.”
Developing and engineering products specifically for the African market are seen as sparking innovation that may also prove meaningful to nations worldwide. For instance, nearly half of all mobile phones purchased by Africans are Chinese brands, some customized with language-specific keyboards and photo hues designed to reflect African’s brown skin tones accurately.
Planned economic advancement throughout Africa is also seen as helpful to maintaining political stability globally, as well-to-do Nigerians and Tanzanians, now regularly migrating to European shores, are more likely to stay at home rather than run the gamut of migration into countries resisting their admittance.
All in all—as developed nations struggle to keep pace with each other, the move to build a base in Africa is seen as a move towards a brighter future and a win-win opportunity for the planet.