Africa: An Emerging Lion

globe with Africa in greenYou’ve heard about Africa’s booming economy, but have you heard how it’s affecting ordinary people? We haven’t either.

That’s why we’re so excited about the new Africa Next: A Six Part Series that started Saturday from Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. Journalist Geoffrey York went directly to African communities to ask if ordinary Africans are getting a share of the growth. He traveled for months around the continent and heard stories directly from farmers, miners, CEOs, and more to understand what was really happening and how their future is changing. Here’s a video introduction to the series.

The series offers a close look at the economic boom in Africa. Seeing all the statistics in one place makes the growth even more striking. Here are just a few of the facts…

  • Seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world from 2011 to 2015 are projected to be in sub-Saharan Africa. In eight of the past 10 years, sub-Saharan Africa has grown faster than Asia.
  • Africa’s gross domestic product is expected to rise by 5.4% this year, well above the global growth rate of 3.5%. Analysts predict that Africa will continue expanding at 6 % annually for the next decade – approaching or exceeding Asia’s growth rate.
  • Secondary school enrollment rose by 48% from 2000 to 2008.
  • Child mortality has declined by more than 5% annually in at least 10 African countries since 2005.
  • Malaria deaths have dropped dramatically, falling by more than 30% in countries such as Zambia and Tanzania since 2004.
  • By the end of 2010, cumulative foreign direct investment in Africa totaled $554 billion, up from a total of $110 billion in 1998. Annual investments are expected to double over the next three years.
  • Africa’s middle class is the fastest growing in the world.
  • By 2050, a projected 63% of Africa’s population will be urban dwellers.

The series tells the stories of many people with a range of experiences. Some people have lost access to their water source as large corporations have purchased the land, some have found steady employment while some have lost access to the land they once farmed and now have to purchase imported goods. York points out the importance of government, private, and social sector collaboration as Africa navigates its future. That’s something that rings very true to us at Firelight.

We’re very pleased to see Globe and Mail go directly to African communities to talk about the reality of the boom and how everyday people are affected.  We're looking forward to the rest of the series. The question is, what happens after that?  Our 122 grantee-partners have answers to that.







Views on the WorldMonica Dey