Although Afrika is still facing many challenges, including deep social and economic inequality, it is undeniable that the continent has been on a steady growth trend for at least the last decade. Some countries have led such a pattern more than others, such as Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola, but the economic surge has involved many other areas and there are at least five sectors that are currently fuelling Africa’s growth as a whole.
Agriculture: is still the largest sector, accounting for 15% of African GDP ($100 billion annually). However, it is only growing moderately, between 2 to 5 % a year. This is because, although Africa has over one-quarter of the world’s arable land, agriculture is very fragmented and, with the right conditions, it could grow a lot faster and provide food for most of the continent’s population. In order to achieve this, Africa needs donors and business models that increase the level of investments. It also needs policies that endeavor to bring the land back to communities. As well as the obvious benefits in terms of food production, this sector could provide many jobs, as people with a scientific background are required to implement the innovation needed.
Banking, unlikely agriculture, banking has grown rapidly in the last decade and this is also due to financial reforms that removed many barriers and allowed new entrants from the banking private sector to access the market. The exception is Egypt, which imposed regulatory restrictions to curb unregulated growth, but apart for this country, the benefits of innovating the banking system affects a large part of the population, ranging from penetrating areas which were unbanked before, and offering products that are simple but can change daily life, such as credit cards. Plus, newly-established banks are currently providing for thousands of jobs.
Infrastructure: this sector still has a long way to go to fulfill population needs, but the good news is that it is growing at such a rate to attract more and more foreign investors. High crime rates and political instability still makes it very risky to invest in Africa, but the potential return is huge. Unless it is driven by wild speculation, investment in African infrastructure would be incredibly beneficial to the population, as poor roads, railways and ports make products scarcely available and expensive. Better infrastructure would mean larger product availability and access to electricity and water. This is why the UN has created PIDA (Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa), a 30-year strategy focusing on regional trans-bounday projects.
Renewable energy: this sector is vital to provide electricity and combustible to the majority of African population, as traditional resources are depleting. Ghana knows well: this is the country where important projects are taking place. The first one is by a company named Yam Pro Energy, which is getting energy from crashing ocean waves to potentially provide energy to up to 10,000 households. Another one is led by a team of experts in Accra, who are turning human waste into odourless fuel which can be used for cooking. But Ghana is not only: solar energy is vastly produced across the country, producing low-cost electricity for millions of households who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it.
Digital healthcare: digitisation is in full swing in the whole continent, but an interesting aspect of it is the one which relates to healthcare. In some countries, such as Tanzania and Ethiopia, there is barely one doctor every 200,000 people; this is why entrepreneurs across Africa are implementing new digital solutions to provide at least some form of healthcare, such as telemecidine, e-prescriptions and m-Health applications. Other solutions include a biomedical kit for early diagnosis and continuous monitoring of pneumonia.
These and other results show that Africa is not only affected by deep issues, but it is also a place for opportunity and rewarding investments.
SOARising provides an opening for those who want to be part of the African changing times. You can help implement important projects and contribute to making a difference. If you want to know more, visit our project section.