Maybe Africa did not plan for success

African countries have had a fast and impressive growth. But the economic growth did not coincide with poverty elimination because it was not linked to the economic sectors that affect the poor. Youth unemployment has now reached  alarming proportions.

The risk for riots and more social unrest is accelerated by the urbanization of the poor. Frustrated young people living people in townships are easily attracted to criminal gangs or terrorist organizations. Access st social media also make mobilization more easy.

Africa displays the fast rate of urban growth in the world. It has been estimated that African countries need to generate productive jobs for 7 to 10 million young people entering the labor force each year.

Many young people are without the requisite skills to enter the formal labor market, which has become increasingly demanding. A disturbingly high share of those who have completed primary school have difficulties with reading and writing.

The school system many places is characterized by students who are expected to be obedient, follow instructions, copy what the teacher says and memorize form the text books. Conformity is a prime virtue.

African leaders have declared 2009 – 18 “the African youth decade”. Governments have launched numerous youth employment strategies, but unemployment and underemployment continue to rise.

More and more Africans refuse to tolerate a situation that Africa is a rich continent  but the majority of its people being very poor.

A recipe for instability and unrest, unless new leaders emerge and act instead of talk.




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2 Responses to Maybe Africa did not plan for success

  1. Rodney Lobo says:

    Africa has received and still receives considerable amounts of money to improve/ develop the eduction sector!! How come things still seem be how they were for many years ago? Yes African leaders and the elite that have benefited from education are responsible for many of Africa’s woos and have not learnt much about sharing.

  2. Tore Westberg says:

    To correct the picture a little bit. In the country where I live, Kenya, we have seen clear benefits of a free primary education system, which is now moving even to secondary education. Except in some remote areas where relatively few people live, it is obvious that kids actually learn how to read and write. The enormous increase in use of mobile phones, also smart phones, has raised the general knowledge of communication through writing and reading and technology in general.
    The article points at a very serious fact. African leaders, except a few, don’t plan for success for their countries. They plan for success for themselves, their families and not least their tribal elite.
    It is obvious to me that most of the positive developments happening in Kenya are initiated through private enterprises, in spite of the ever hungry corrupt authorities. Many African leaders have talked about the Asian Tigers for decades now, saying Africa needs to copy those processes. But African leaders don’t have the motivation like some of the Asian leaders had. There is little sense of ‘common values’ in Africa, at least those values based on distribution of wealth. Here it is everyone for himself. On the other hand, people deliberately elect bad leaders, so like here in Kenya, the country has the leaders they deserve. That’s the dark side of tribalism.

    Unless African countries start big time manufacturing, the crisis will explode some day. It is extremely sad. This is where Western development agencies get it wrong (like Norway). They want to emphasize support to small scale farmers, while there actually are too many of those. You cannot help a farmer unless there is a market. The market’s prospect depends on how many consumers of farm products the country can produce. Those are non-farmers.

    What is for sure is that Africa will change a lot over the next 10-20 years when. It might get dirty. We hope not!

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