Africa 2030: Youth, mega-cities and infrastructure that works

Today’s challenges represent Africa’s best opportunities for inclusive growth and development. Imagine Africa 2030, presented this week at the Sankalp Africa Summit, identifies trends and technologies shaping Africa’s future.

Trend: The population of Africa will reach 1.7 billion by 2030 and 2.4 billion by 2050, double today’s number of people. Most will be working age. Such a “demographic dividend” can boost productivity and drive economic growth. Technology: Education is essential if Africa is to realize the dividend for shared prosperity. Johannesburg-based Obami’s education platform connects learners, teachers, parents and administrators.

Trend: By 2050, nearly 60 percent of Africans will live in cities, up from 40 percent today. Lagos and Kinshasa will be among the world’s biggest cities. Concentrated talent and consumer markets mean shared services and infrastructure, access to resources and finance and cross-fertilization of knowledge and ideas. Technology: Kenya’s 4GCapital uses blockchain technology to facilitate short-term business loans in informal markets.

Trend: A mobile-, tech-, and solar energy-enabled population will leapfrog underdeveloped communications infrastructure, energy grids and financial systems. Already, nearly three out of four Africans own a mobile phone. The absence of ‘legacy systems’ allows Africa to position itself as a “breeding ground for digital innovation,” the report says. Technology: Lo3 Energy is building a peer-to-peer energy trading model for households that could upend the conventional power grid.

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