Development across Africa: Highlights

05 Feb

Just because we’re human and so need hard facts and figures to convince us of things, I figured after my previous post the most logical next post would be some of these to convince you of Africa’s* incredible progress and potential. This is not the general format of how I envision my blog, which would usually be more personal and not in point form, but I felt I needed to justify it and hopefully give you enough reason to keep reading in the future. I also won’t be posting everyday usually – quality is better than quantity – but I’ve got to get you hooked to start with, don’t I? So here goes…

  • From 2002 to 2010 GNI per capita in Sub Saharan Africa increased from $470 to $1176. More than double in less than 10 years!
  • 6 of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world are African! In fact between 2000 and 2010 the world’s fastest growing economy was Angola – not China!
  • In 2011 Africa was the region that gave the highest returns on investments in the world.
  • Exports rose from $319.0 billion in 2007 to $413.7 billion in 2008, a 29.7% increase in just one year! Conversely, imports rose less than exports, from $305.3 billion in 2007 to $372.1 billion in 2008, a 21.8% increase. All greats signs of the continent’s development and growing self-sufficiency
  • New FDI projects into Africa are forecast (Ernst & Young) to reach $150 by 2015, creating 350000 jobs per annum
  • Total investments in renewable energy in Africa rose from $750 million in 2004 to $3.6 billion in 2011
  • In 2000, roughly 59 million households on the continent had $5,000 or more in income. By 2014, this number is forecast to reach 106 million.
  • Africa’s poverty rate is dropping by 1% a year and has been for the last decade – despite global economic conditions and internal challenges.
  • From 2008 to 2009 Sub Saharan Africa’s inflation dropped from 10.6% to 4.3%   while the majority of the world’s countries inflation rates went up!
  • Africa is NOT overpopulated. It has a population density similar to the USA and less than the UK. Africa has 65 people per square mile, USA 76 per square mile and the UK 660 per square mile. To add some context, courtesy of Gérémie Sawadogo, India has a larger population than the entire African continent even though it is a 10th of the size! Ironically the country with the highest population density in the world is also considered one of the richest – Monaco!
  • Africa is not at war. There are 4 sites of major conflict on the continent at the moment (Chad, DRC, Somalia, Sudan) and if we include, by the World Bank’s definition, fragile states we would have to add another 13. Still less than half the continent and not even far off Asian or European figures at present! Good news as a whole, globally? No, but certainly not the continent of conflict portrayed by most and much more similar to the West, in political and economic terms, than anyone would like to admit.
  • Sub Saharan Africa is bang on global average for the percentage of women parliamentary members at 18%. The country in the world with the most female members of parliaments is Rwanda and South Africa also features in the top 5 – yes we occupy 2 of the top 5 spots! Better than you expected? Just to be clear I believe this is not good enough (who wants to be average anyway) and there is still a very large amount of work to be done in terms of gender relations but again we’re not as bad as we’re told.
  • The percentage of Sub Saharan Africa’s population that is undernourished has dropped from an unimaginable and horrific 60% in 1990 to 26% in 2009. It’s important to not forget that these numbers represent actual people, so a quarter of the population being undernourished is, as said before, simply not good enough BUT progress is progress, must be recognised, learnt from and enhanced. No one can deny this is incredibly impressive progress in the face of a very daunting challenge.
  • In 2002 the average primary school completion rate for Sub Saharan Africa was 52%. In 2009 this had increased to 64% – that’s an increase of more than 1% per annum! At the same time the primary school enrollment rate increased by 16%.
  • The maternal mortality rate has dropped from 870 per 100000 live births in 1990 to 650 per 100000 live births in 2009.
  • The number of patent applications by African residents increased from 745 043 in 1999 to 994 324 in 2006
  • Algeria, South Africa, Gabon, Tunisia, Mauritius, Botswana, Morocco and Mauritania all have higher mobile penetration rates than the world average of 60%
  • In 2000 there was 1 internet user per 100 people. In 2010 this number had increased to 11 internet users per 100 people.

And there you go my highlights package of the good news from the continent I have the honour of calling home. Want to know more? Watch this space!

* I am generally not a fan of talking about Africa as if it is one country. It is not and it’s now 54 countries are all very different but do so here simply to make a general point and promise to be more specific in the future!

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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in General


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