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  • Jackie Nagtegaal

Africa, to the Power of Ten

I recently wrote a piece for Forbes's 10 Year Birthday issue, about what the next decade could hold for Africa.

People tend to think futurists are there to predict the future, like modern-day clairvoyants taking to conference stages with theatrical presentation peddling predictions. The purpose of engaging with the future is not to predict, but to explore everything that could be possible. Considering the possibilities that are both good and bad, we decide which futures we want to live in. By choosing our own future vision, we design paths to make it real. Through this process we create a world we choose to live in. The next decade for Africa holds many possibilities. These ten ideas and industries could shape the future of Africa in the next decade, and holster it into a golden era of prosperity.

1. Afro-Optimism

This most critical ingredient to any future is the role of hope. This is particularly important for a continent marred by colonialism and conflict. The spirit of Africa needs to rediscover its abilities to believe and overcome. Without optimism, none of the industries or other ideas will bloom.

2. The Youth Bulge

Africa has the fastest-growing population and will account for half the world’s population growth in the next two decades. By 2035 Africa will have more people than India or China. In this lies a tremendous challenge, but also a phenomenal asset. With a young population, (by 2035 half of Africans will be under 21) the continent has to act fast to leverage this asset, before it becomes its greatest burden.

3. Regenerative Development

As Africa is in the process of developing, it needs to develop in a post-sustainable way allowing for a regenerative approach to climate, economy, and culture. By learning from the mistakes and wins of Western economies and Asian development strategies, Africa has the opportunity to design an enhanced approach to development.

4. The Metaverse Migration

Laying the digital foundation to serve all these industries and close to two billion people, the development in infrastructure and skill in the digital world is critical. By harnessing the power of the 4th IR all of its development concerns can be addressed which would spearhead digital service delivery. Africa needs to move fast, in a sense it has to migrate to the metaverse.

5. Rule of Law

Africa is currently plagued by conflict, and many countries face crippling degrees of corruption and despondency. The idea of the rule of law has to be enhanced through better leadership and legal agency for Africans, and enhanced delivery by the justice system.

6. Africa is One

Intra-African trade is key to developing as a continent and sustaining itself. At very low intra-trade levels, compared to Asia and Europe, Africa stands to gain by supporting itself. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement sets the foundation for a decade of increased activity.

7. An End to Hunger

Nearly 20% of Africans experience hunger, sliding food production onto the top of the priority list. With innovations in farming, firm focus is needed to get the arable lands of Africa into smart producing resources to support its people, while continuing and enhancing its export to the world.

8. The Brains of Tomorrow

This might be the single most important aspect of the future. With that bulging youth bubble, how we educate and skill young Africans will unlock the future. Education not only builds skills but instills pride, agency, and optimism in the next generation.

9. Living Spaces

Innovation in housing must cater to inadequate living conditions and an increase in demand. The housing crisis needs new ideas to solve it in sustainable way.

10. The Wellbeing of All

With a life expectancy of nearly 10 years lower than global averages, looking after the health of Africans to enhance the most fundamental human right needs critical attention. The pressure on various inadequate health systems on the continent is set to increase, innovations are needed to make health care accessible.

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