Future of Africa

Africa could be a source of great growth out to 2030 and beyond but much will depend on how much external investment in infrastructure and capacity building is made in the more stable economies of the continent. Our robot, Athena@ ST, picked out these trends, uncertainties and surprises as drivers of change on the continent.
What is changing?


  • Nigeria could have the highest average real GDP growth per annum during the whole period to 2050.
  • Parts of Africa will translate into soaring car ownership and fuel consumption.
  • Rail volumes are projected to increase from approximately 200 million tons to 350 million tons by the end of 2018 in South Africa.
  • Manufacturing in Africa will be constrained by lagging infrastructure.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa will continue to be a major supplier of oil, gas, and metals to world markets and increasingly will attract the attention of Asian states seeking access to commodities.
  • Growing demand for electricity in South Africa and other rapidly growing countries will increase the demand for nuclear power.
  • Falling oil prices in countries such as Ghana and Nigeria will likely help with, but not anchor, some economic growth in the region.
  • Foreign direct investment in Africa rose sixfold over the past 10 years and is forecast to reach $150 billion by 2015.
  • Lack of supply is expected to send the price of chocolate soaring as thousands of poverty-stricken farmers in west Africa abandon poorly paid cultivation of the beans for more lucrative crops or life in the cities.
  • EBOLA in both 2014 and 2015 will for West Africa take off 0.1 percentage point from GDP growth and for the entire continent a mere 0.02 percentage point.
  • Commercial telematics subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region will grow from 1.82 million in 2015 to 4 million in 2020.
  • Excluding South Africa growth is expected to remain lackluster in Africa.


  • China‘s deep and continued reliance on energy imports will likely push Beijing to ramp up its diplomatic and military engagement not just in Africaor the Indian Ocean but in the broader Middle East.
  • TheMiddle East and North Africa (MENA) will remain a geopolitically significant region in 2025.
  • There will be pressure from North Africans fleeing across into Spain, Malta, Corsica and Italy.


  • Close to 90 per cent of the increase in the world’s urban population will take place in the urban areas of Africa and Asia.
  • Urban Africa will add as many new middle-income households as Latin America & Caribbean cities over the period.


  • Poaching and trafficking pose a direct threat to sustainable development efforts in Africa and elsewhere.


  • CO2 emissions for Africa are at present marginal and will remain at 3% of the world total despite the rapid increase in the Sub-Sahara African population to 2030.


  • With Sub Saharan Africa alone expected to have 930m mobile subscriptions by 2019 there is enormous potential for city and rural populations alike to use and create technologies that enhance the food system.


  • South Africa will shift its freight from road to rail.
  • Very soon South-East Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean will become global sources of gas supply.


  • Southern Africa will continue to be the most stable and promising sub-region politically and economically.
  • Nigeria could sustain average growth of around 5-6% per annum in the long run.
  • Mining production could fall on a scale not seen since the two world wars.
  • Middle East and Africa regions will be the fastest growing regions over the next 10 years for overnight visitor flows.
  • By 2030 Africa’s top 18 cities will have a combined spending power of $1.3 trillion.


  • North Africa does not appear to be a military and political threat to the European Union.
  • Geopolitical tensions could generate regional and global spillovers.
  • Africa will continue to push for UN reform and for permanent representation on the UN Security Council.


  • Between now and 2050 nearly 200 million Africans would be expected to migrate to Europe.
  • Higher rates of migration within Africa will make for a more mobile society acutely aware of the opportunities outside the continent.
  • Africa is projected to have nearly as many people as all of Asia.
  • The population of Nigeria alone is expected to grow to over 1 billion people by the end of the century.


  • Poaching and trafficking pose a direct threat to sustainable development efforts in Africa and elsewhere.
  • Rhinos could be extinct in the wild within 20 years in Africa.
  • The impact of climate change on Africa’s water and energy infrastructure will be costly.
  • Population increases will further stress the local environment in North Africa and Sub Saharan Africa.
  • The cost of Africa’s adaptation to climate change will be between $10-30 billion a year by 2030.

Learn more
Find the sources and more resources on Shaping Tomorrow about ‘Future of Africa‘ some of which were used in this Trend Alert, or ask us for a customised,in-depth GIST report on this or any other topic of interest to you. Also, click hereto find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.

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