Africa’s emergence is the new consensus. For the second time in a just few months, a major international journal has run a cover illustrating newfound optimism about the continent. After The Economist’s mea culpa (correcting its previous assessment of a “hopeless continent”), TIME magazine just re-ran an earlier title: “Africa rising”.
This is no fluke: Africa’s economies are growing and the continent is much wealthier today than it ever was – even though, collectively, it remains the poorest on the planet. Many African nations (22 to be precise) have already reached Middle Income Country (so called “MIC”) status and more will do so by 2025. Today, Africa includes a diverse “mix” of countries, ranging from the poorest in the world to the fastest growing; from war-torn countries to vibrant democracies; from oil-rich economies to ICT champions, and the list goes on.
Simply put: If we continue to equate aid with money only, then it will become obsolete in most countries over the next decade or two – except perhaps in fragile states. However, if it is focused on transferring the knowledge countries need to catch up and compete with each other, it will remain indispensable.