GIGA Focus International Edition English

Africa: Neither Hopeless Nor Rising

Number 1 | 2014 | ISSN: 2196-3940

  • The Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank will take place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 19 to 23 May 2014. The theme of the meeting is “The Next 50 Years: The Africa We Want.”

    Analysis Most of the 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have registered positive economic growth in recent years. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates as well as export growth rates have been quite high, and the flow of foreign direct investment (FDI) is rising. However, scholarly analyses have also clearly shown which factors are impeding the economic advancement of particular sub-Saharan countries. Above all, it is structural change that has failed to make headway.

    • Economic growth varies greatly from country to country in sub-Saharan Africa. The more fragile states (approximately 25 percent of all African countries) are recording growth rates of less than 4 percent, and only the countries who export natural resources top 6 percent.

    • Large sections of the sub-Saharan population have experienced an improvement in their quality of life over the past ten years; some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were even reached (school enrollment rate, life expectancy, health care). But the main goal, to decrease the number of people living in poverty by 50 percent, has not been met.

    • A small middle class is developing in sub-Saharan Africa.

    • Africa is often referred to as the “continent of the future” because the share of young people relative to the entire population is quite high. But the continent’s youth will have a future only if enough jobs are created to support them.


      How to cite this article

      Robert Kappel (2014), Africa: Neither Hopeless Nor Rising, GIGA Focus International Edition English, 1, Hamburg: German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA),


      The GIGA Focus is an Open Access publication and can be read on the Internet and downloaded free of charge at According to the conditions of the Creative-Commons license Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0, this publication may be freely duplicated, circulated, and made accessible to the public. The particular conditions include the correct indication of the initial publication as GIGA Focus and no changes in or abbreviation of texts.

      The German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) – Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in Hamburg publishes the Focus series on Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and global issues. The GIGA Focus is edited and published by the GIGA. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the institute. Authors alone are responsible for the content of their articles. GIGA and the authors cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions, or for any consequences arising from the use of the information provided.

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