Emerging Africa is on the move
The economic performance of Africa’s 54 countries more than doubled in real terms since 2000 (GDP based on PPP + 145,2%), income per capita improved alone in Sub-Sahara Africa from 1.380 to 2.580 USD per year.
Although in absolute terms the economic performance of the continent is still quite low, the situation is changing rapidly. Whereas in the early 1990s the GDP of Germany alone was five times that of whole Africa, in 2009 it was only double the size. And now, giving the sluggish growth in Europe and the dynamic situation in emerging Africa it is expected that Africa’s GDP will soon overtake that of Germany.
North African countries and 23 Sub-Sahara countries are leading the African boom (Steven Radelet). Ghana, Zambia, Rwanda, Ethiopia and many more countries are on an impressive path of development. Additionally, the nine oil-exporting countries, led by Nigeria and Angola, demonstrate very high dynamics, although their economic performance is not so broadly based.
Actually, the global boom in raw materials also drives the growth at the African continent. But not as the sole driver. More than half of Africa’s growths stems from non-oil producing countries.
Naturally, it is not a simple cause-effect relation explaining how and why so many African countries are booming. Obviously, different internal and external changes occurred simultaneously and some of them reinforced each other.
Starting in the mid-1990s, when many African countries have been confronted with disastrous economical and political situations, new governments took over. As a new generation of politicians, entrepreneurs and managers came into leading positions, governance became more responsible, and economic policies more sensible. Prevailing debt crises came to an end.
Changes of the outside world also had a big impact on African countries. Firstly, the world economy and its value chains and distribution networks have become much more global and many African countries have become part of it. Secondly, in the last 20 years successful African countries have become knowledge societies. “Societies of organizations” have been built, “knowledge workers” are now working in these organizations. Thirdly, new innovative information and communication technologies have given people direct access to globally available information, resources and people.
All in all, in the last 15 to 20 years leading African countries have become an integral part of our newly forming world society. It became true what Peter Drucker said in the 1980s: “There are no “underdeveloped” countries anymore … just “undermanaged” ones.”
Of course, many of these developments occur first of all in urban Africa. In many places the traditional, rural Africa continues to exist in parallel.
But it will be the cities and its citizens who are decisive for further development.