What does it take to reduce poverty in Africa?
The IMF predicted in 2015 that for the first time SSA will grow at a rate of 5.7% from 2014 to 2019, making it among the three fastest growing regions in the world. Reasons for optimism, as explained by Professor Stephen Onyeiwu, are: The Arab Spring made corrupt politicians more accountable to the people, increase in entrepreneurs, and discovery of new natural resources such as oil and gas. He warned that in one of the most unequal regions in the world, economic growth depends on employing the 200 million youth ages 15 to 24, who will comprise almost a third of global youth by 2050. Violence from Islamic terrorists and climate change can be problematic due to SSA’s reliance on agriculture and natural resource extraction. China’s development path of exporting manufactured goods and investing in infrastructure should be followed, Onyeiwu suggested.
Mozambican scholar Alcinda Honwana interviewed young people in four African countries. After studying African youth and unlike many researchers, actually talking with many of them, Honwana concluded that neoliberal austerity policies have hurt them more than any other continent so that a majority of young adults are stuck in waithood. On the other hand, child soldiers, laborers, and caregivers to younger siblings are forced into adult work roles.
Stephen Onyeiwu, “Renaissance or Mirage: Can Africa Sustain its Growth?,” The Conversation, May 18, 2015.