Africa in 20 years

By 2033, it is reasonable to expect that Africa will have become an even more important source of the world’s minerals, resulting in a strong, even dominant, presence of large and small, legal and illegal, extractive and agricultural industries, financed largely by external funds and protected by national officials as needed sources of national income.

As today, the economic, political, environmental and social impact of these industries will remain problematic.

Countries that are truly able to harness the income from these resources in ways that contribute to the general welfare of the country have the chance to be in the progressive scenario. Those that are unable to harness the income and to use it fruitfully will inevitably fall into the regressive segment. As it is also likely that Africa’s mineral and agricultural resources sector will be the major source of most governments’ revenue in the next twenty years, success or failure in benefiting from these resources will have a serious impact on each government’s ability to govern and to provide services to its citizens. Judging by the last twenty years, growth in other economic sectors including, unfortunately, traditional agriculture and especially energy will be modest and will absorb rather than generate national income.

Some African countries will be successful in developing local industries but even the latter will be susceptible to acquisition by their international counterparts. Even without considering the impact of payments for Africa’s international debt, the net result of these trends in both the extractive and the consumer industries will be a continuing flow of wealth (funds and non-renewable raw materials) out of Africa.

Read the full article by J. Paul Martin here.

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