Industrialization and development go hand in hand. There is hardly a country in the world that has developed without building a strong manufacturing base. But for Africa – sometimes referred to as the continent of the future – the fruits of industrialization have often seemed just out of reach.
Often cited as Africa’s greatest asset, its youth are also among the most vulnerable and volatile.
A large and growing population of talented young people has the potential to drive economic growth and well-being of societies across the continent but, as the African Development Bank warns
, current conditions of severe unemployment are translating into poorer living conditions, higher flows of migration, and greater risks of conflict – in short, a social disaster in the making.
Earlier this year, when heavy rains caused massive flooding in Sudan, a three-month state of emergency was declared in September. The floods which began in July, were the worst the country experienced in the last three decades and affected some 830,000 people, including 125,000 refugees and internally displaced people.
Until recently, Benin was best known for its cotton exports and its vibrant clothing designs. Since this year it is also the fastest place in the world to start a company. By providing a full online service, the government helped entrepreneurs create businesses and jobs during the pandemic. A third of Benin’s new entrepreneurs are women.
Africa has over 700
companies with an annual revenue of more than $500 million, including 400 with revenue above $1 billion
. The ability of these companies to thrive rests on building and retaining talented women and men.
Barry de Maine, the director of Green Cross Pharmacy, lost about $ 7,675 worth of stock when The Mall, the largest shopping centre in Mbabane, was flooded back in 2003. But when the flash floods hit again this year, he had already installed a flange to stop water from coming in.
“This is the best I could do under the circumstances,” De Maine told IPS, adding: “Otherwise since we started experiencing floods at The Mall (17 years ago) nothing has been done.”
Across Africa, even in cities with relatively modern infrastructure, many shoppers prefer the informal markets. In our case, both our mothers preferred the fresh produce sold at informal markets by women from the rural areas.
“I am so happy. This is my success!” says 13-year old Cynthia
, beaming proudly as she shows her Primary School Certificate with an average mark of 120 out of 150. Thanks to the Radio Education Programme, she will now graduate on to Grade 6! Cynthia’s sense of pride, joy and achievement can only be fully understood when placed in the context of her circumstances. Cynthia is an internally displaced girl, living in Burkina Faso in Central Sahel.
For my entire life, I have been forgotten. I am a Sahrawi refugee, born and raised in the Algerian desert, where my people have remained displaced for 45 years, awaiting the moment when we can finally return to our homeland, Western Sahara.
As a 10 year-old newly arrived in Lagos from England, I recall listening intently to how the Yoruba language - my father's language - was spoken. I would constantly repeat in my head or verbally repeat what I thought I had heard. I was not always successful. Many times, what would come out of my mouth would throw my friends into fits of laughter.
The ability of Zimbabwean families to take care of children has been compromised by a collapsing economy, compounded by COVID-19
. About 4.3 million people in rural communities, including children, are food insecure this year
. The World Food Programme indicates that at least 60%
of the population of Zimbabwe need food aid.
Already reeling from conflict, extreme weather events and growing displacement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, escalating tensions in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have placed the country on the brink of civil war and many are looking to Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to avert a potential humanitarian disaster.
“I have long given up on active politics,” Gertrude Sidambe, a 36-year-old member of one of Zimbabwe’s opposition parties, tells IPS.
When female members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front complained last month about political violence as male members chose brawn over brains to solicit for positions, the party’s National Secretary for Women’s Affairs Mabel Chinomona advised that they enter the punch-and-insult battlefield and “fight” like everyone else.
When it comes to food security, the challenge is not always about producing more - it’s also about quality: producing food that is wholesome and preserved safely.
The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated a migration from physical work spaces in many sectors of the economy to online, digital services, supported by staff working from home
. Parts of the economy such as mining, manufacturing and hospitality still require workers to be physically present. But other sectors have discovered that virtual platforms are effective substitutes for offices
In 2013, when Jamila Ben Baba started her company, the first privately owned slaughterhouse in Mali, she did so in the midst of a civil war as Tuareg rebels grouped together in an attempt to administer a new northern state called Azawad.
Ben Baba, who is originally from Timbuktu, in northern Mali — where much of the civil war conflict took place — based the business in the country’s western region of Kayes and grew it into what is considered the largest private slaughter house in the West African nation.
The corona virus pandemic is impacting Africa’s population in quite differentiated ways and is significantly entrenching inequality. At the greatest risk are lives and livelihoods of the poor.
"We missed our teachers, they were very friendly and helped us solve the complex exercises, but with the coronavirus, we need to adapt and learn to solve our exercises alone at home," says Alzira Ngomane, 17 years old, and her brother Amilcar Ngomane, 14, from the Albazine district, in the city of Maputo, Mozambique.
In 1965, Kwame Nkrumah described the paradox of neocolonialism in Africa, in which “the soil continue[s] to enrich, not Africans predominantly, but groups and individuals who operate to Africa’s impoverishment.” He captured what continues to be an essential feature of Africa’s political economy.
On October 20, 2020, young Nigerians who were protesting against police brutality were shot by men in Nigerian military uniforms. Unarmed, peaceful citizens were massacred
at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, southwest Nigeria.