Series - What future for Africa? Prospective of a continent endowed with wealth and battered by challenges
#2 - "In action, be primitive; in foresight, be a strategist." What are the possible futures for Africa?
Africa is affected by many dysfonctions from economics with its position in international trade to social issues regarding its exponential demographic growth and an unfair shared resources. What scenarios are possible for the future of Africa? Dr sall, sociologist and director of the Institute for African Futures, gives us his conclusions.
Business as usual
The first scenario envisaged by the sociologist is in line with what the continent already knows. Africa remains enclosed in a cash economy with mercantile patterns. In this scenario, Africa's economic development is similar to the current system and social challenges growth. The African economy is still unproductive and its integration into the global economy has not improved. The continent is struck by the social disruptions of the 21st century with the evolution of individualism. However, the safety valves that we know today remain and allow for peace to be maintained, ensuring relative harmony on the continent.
Africa becomes a lawless zone
According to the expert, a gloomy scenario can be envisaged. In this projection, the continent is in the grip of warlords and the major principles of governance are no longer respected, leaving a catastrophic health situation. These two factors combined inevitably lead to major internal population movements. Consequently, a more significant migratory challenge than the one we are experiencing today would be envisaged. According to the expert, this scenario cannot be ignored in the future.
Political renewal and productivism
The third scenario suggests that a new generation of politicians appears, breaking with the current generation. In this analysis, the continent is experiencing a renewal of political and business personnel. Africa has strong productivist values and is no longer simply an exporter of raw materials. This model foresees that the African economy will move away from a rent-based economy despite sustainable development. Dr Sall envisages widespread corruption on the territory producing tensions within societies. Finally, the sociologist warns about the development of weak social networks that we know today coupled with a rise of individualism.
The Economy and the Social Balance
The continent can also become a territory in which new values, more respectful of humanity and environment principles are widespread. While education is currently a central issue for the development of the territory, we could imagine that the continent will decide to invest massively in the training and information towards its population. According to Abdou Diouf, former President of Senegal, new technologies are an essential lever to meet this challenge in the face of the demographic growth and insufficient school infrastructures. However, Dr Sall stresses that a sufficient level of health among the population remains a prerequisite for solid instruction and education.
Finally, according to him, "African states have become too big for small problems and too small for big problems. The continent can, however, hope that decentralisation will become a reality and fill the gaps in today's over-centralised systems.
The Africa of tomorrow will undoubtedly have to tackle many challenges in order to place the continent on a development path that primarily benefits the populations. For many experts, the territory has immense untapped wealths and resources to create a new sustainable growth paradigm.
In episode 3 of this series, we will see what solutions can be envisaged to transform Africa in a peaceful and prosperous continent.
To go further :
-African Development Bank (AfDB), Former Senegalese President Abdou Diouf Calls for Review of African Approaches to Regional Integration.
-Quai Branly University, Conference : “Prospective : Quels futurs pour l’Afrique ?”, 2021, 24 march.
-Cairn, Snanoudj, Guy. « Demain l’Afrique », Après-demain, vol. n ° 31-32, nf, no. 3-4, 2014, pp. 3-4, https://www.cairn.info/revue-apres-demain-2014-3-page-3.htm
-Forbes, Cancelling Africa's Debt: Why the World Can't Get Away