Why Africa is the Key to Human Advancement

Jade Clarke

Throughout history, the Industrial Revolution has been said to be the most significant event in humanity since the domestication of animals. Now the world is at the brink of another major shift: the digital revolution. The Internet has become the global equalizer for the seven billion inhabitants of this country as it’s revolutionized the way people access information and the way knowledge is shared. However, the world itself hasn’t lived up to its potential of human advancement for a multitude of reasons. For example, there are plenty of countries and people left out of the digital advancements we already have, poverty and hunger are problems we know all too well, and millions of children lack access to healthcare and education. Politics are corrupt in more places than they aren’t and climate change is beginning to exhibit its major side effects on our planet. Therefore, the entire human race is not excelling at the pace we should. But what if I told you there was a solution right in front of us? Look back to where humanity all began: Africa.

Our world is facing the largest human capital shortage of its time, and Africa could be the antidote. Home to an exponentially growing young population, Africans can work alongside politicians, engineers, and other global teams to combat all of our intellectual roadblocks. To give you a sense as to why Africa holds so much potential power, let’s look at some facts. According to the United Nations, half of the world's population growth is likely to occur in Africa. The five African countries that will contribute the most to this are Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria, which are home to four of the world’s fastest growing cities. By 2050, Nigeria will overtake the United States as the world’s third most populous country with an estimated population of over 400 million people. Forty percent of the planet’s children will likely call Africa home in the coming years. The reality is that as the population of the continent shifts, so do its resources, governments and infrastructure. However, we’d have to come to terms with Africa’s difficult past. With all this raw brainpower, electricity and healthcare are luxuries while transportation and infrastructure are in need of a tune up for the next generations. As a place that net imports many major necessities despite having plenty of arable land, Africa shouldn’t miss out on our third revolution, especially when they have the power to control it.

In many ways, Africa has been able to advance and greatly overcome past struggles and inconsistencies. The most encouraging trend is the increased participation of women and girls in economic and social development. In countries like Kenya, girls outnumber boys at the primary school level. Sub-Saharan Africa has become a hotspot of entrepreneurship of both genders. Progress has even been made in government where women are better represented, although there is still much work to do. With the increase in mobile access and penetration; villages, cities and entire countries are relying on cellular signal to create, innovate, and regulate. Thus, the movement has gone from adapting technology to wanting to create it. New leadership mixed with young mind innovation ensure that new processes and creations work. The story of Africa has always been intertwined with resilience, so the action to include Africa in our third worldly revolution is to be taken immediately.

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