Africa owns 30% of Earth’s natural resources, but it isn’t growing as it should. Vietnam, for example, grows by 13% and India has grown by about 8% in last 10 years. For more than 20 years, China has grown by 11% every year, being able to develop export first, and local consumptions then.
Africa is experimenting, then, with a short circuit: development grows, but it does it too slowly against demographic development. It is a vicious circle, because the more the continent gets wealthier, the more people are born and the less per capita GDP grows.
In 2030 demographic growth will cause Africa to have 1.7 billion inhabitants, but it won’t have development programmes and infrastructural systems in line with its new needs. Towns will be even more crowded and less liveable and population’s growth rate won’t be followed by an increase in job opportunities: unemployment rates will keep on rising and most of African working force won’t have a trusty source of income.
This situation will presumably increase social differences and widen the gap between rich and poor people, creating social tensions which government will have to be able to manage.
Maybe McKinsey’s six political brakes are more valid than ever, and we report them for a new reflection: mobilize more domestic resources, aggressively diversify economies, accelerate infrastructure development, deepen regional integration, create tomorrow’s talent, and ensure healthy urbanization. Six priorities that will not be managed soon, seen the political and social weaknesses that we have already mentioned.
It is worth wondering how great riches of Africa will be managed while single African countries will try to grow and gain prominence on the international scene.