What can be said about the coming years? We know of course a lot. But there are also many unknowns; we can foresee that major changes will take place and new dramas will unfold, but we cannot foresee where or when. IMF , however, has ventured to make a prognosis This is what they say for the period 2011-2015:
Seven of the top 10 fast growing countries for the coming five years will be African: Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo, Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria.
Countries on both lists (2000-10 and 2011-15) are in bold. Dropouts from the 2000 - 2010-list are Angola, Chad and Rwanda. Newcomers are Tanzania, Congo, Ghana and Zambia. The three non African are China, India and Vietnam.
What can we say about this new Africa?
It will be diverse. We already have many “Africas” but that trend might be even stronger in the coming years. Some are travelling in fast lanes, some lag behind.
The speeders have all the modern attributes and technology. They will be able to leapfrog; no PCs but all mobile. Music fashion and media industry will continue its rapid expansion. New mixes of hybrid languages will create new cultures, and be the result of it.
Integrations efforts will continue, both for the whole continent and for sub regions. Africa will be courted for raw material and land, and will still be an arena for outside players, but with increasing space to be an actor that will speak up with increased confidence.
But even with this positive scenario we must remember that Africa is still poor and vulnerable, the situation is fragile. I submit 10 caveats (or opportunities) to indicate and to illustrate. Let me start with two, of crucial importance:
- Conflicts will last long and some reemerge. DRC, South Sudan, both internally and with the north, Ethiopia -Eritrea might be candidates in this category. LRA is still causing havoc, far beyond its strength. There are unresolved tensions in both Uganda and Kenya
- Democracy. The need to go from institutions to culture. From a winner takes all to a constructive opposition and a responsible majority. End of “it is our time to eat”. The role of fuel and food, together with Freedom and Frustration, in creating unrest. The need for strong and decent Local government, which would change the roles of MPs: to focus on national issues such as a road policy rather than tarmac on my road. What will be the foundations for societies, Ethnicity or Democracy? Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Somalia have chosen different paths. Role of Religion; private or political? Fundamentalist Christians and Muslims seem to grow.
To be continued……