There has been a lot of talk about Africa’s rising economic prosperity and whether it is sustainable and deeply rooted in reducing extreme poverty across the continent. So, I sat down to answer some basic fundamental questions that I often get asked about Africa’s growth and development.
Why does Africa show the highest growth prospects out of any continent in the world?
There is no doubt that favorable commodity prices have and will be a key driver of growth for sub-Sahara Africa. The so-called commodity super-cycle has benefited traditional oil exporters, such as Nigeria and Angola, and new ones, like Ghana. Demand for natural resources from emerging markets, especially China, has increased in the last decade and remains important. As noted in the
BP Energy Outlook 2035, Africa will remain an important producer of oil and natural gas, accounting for 10 percent of global oil and 9 percent of natural gas production in 2035.
In addition, the continuation of good medium-term policies and structural reforms bodes well for future growth in the region. Africa has “democratized” to some extent, and violence and armed conflicts have decreased in spite of a few hot spots. Half of the world’s future population growth will be driven by Africa (not because of higher fertility, which is declining, but because of longer life expectancy). This trend could lead to a “demographic dividend” of an adult population of 800 million by 2030 (compared to 460 million in 2010). Africa’s rapid urbanization and burgeoning middle class could generate hundreds of millions of consumers.