Will African countries ever move from being referred to as developing countries to developed countries? What are some of the efforts being put in place by the same countries as a move to achieve this?
Africa is a continent that is endowed with immense natural and human resources as well as great cultural, ecological and economic diversity. Despite all these, the continent still remains underdeveloped. Most African nations continue suffering from dictatorial governments, massive corruption, civil wars, terrorism, underdevelopment and abject poverty that is beyond measure.
A number of development strategies have been implemented but still fail to yield positive results as expected. It is believed that the continent is doomed to perpetual poverty and economic slavery. On average, most African countries are on the second stage of the demographic transition, stages that are categorized by high growth rate due to the decrease in basic birth rate. This explains why Africa’s population is increasing at such a rapid rate. Eventually, Africa must enter an industrial revolution. This will educate the population, resulting in a low birth rate, which will slow the population growth to moderate growth. Africa is on the verge of becoming a stage 3 continent, once a widespread industrial revolution occurs in Africa, development will soon follow.
At some point, the whole continent seems not to be growing at the same rate since some countries are already more developed than others. The continued economic and social development of the African continent is inevitable, especially as globalization continues to inform development on a larger scale. However, the rate and form of development varies from one country to another. Some countries are already nearing (and may soon transition completely to) developed status on a number of indicators like South Africa.
Some small countries will also reach a developed phase if they remain stable and on their current trajectory (Gabon, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana and Senegal). Still others may reach developed status as long as they can stave off fundamentalism (Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria).
Large countries with huge economies (Nigeria, Egypt, and Ethiopia) will continue to experience economic growth at accelerated rates, but their massive populations and widespread poverty create challenges for large scale social development. Some countries have many natural resources that could potentially help them to transition to more developed status (DRC, Kenya, and Angola) but face administrative and structural problems.
Some countries will at the same time continue lagging behind the rest of the continent, as a result of poor economic performance and competitiveness, unrest and political destabilization and mounting health issues.
Some countries have come up with development strategies that they look up to for growth purposes. Under its Vision 2030 programme, Kenya plans to develop its technology hub – popularly referred to as Konza City and its rail infrastructure. On the other hand, Uganda wants 80% of its population to have access to electricity and safe water within 30 years while Nigeria aims to be among the 20 most-developed economies in the world by 2020. Ethiopia is building a network of dams and wind turbines to generate electricity that it hopes will reach 70% of the country by 2016.
Article by Vera Shawiza.