Africa boasts of an abundance of natural resources, in particular aquatic and marine resources, with a potential that has not yet been fully tapped in the context of economic growth and sustainable development. The African Great Lakes constitute the largest proportion of surface freshwater in the world (27%). This becomes therefore a globally important strategic resource as reserves of freshwater are dwindling in most parts of the world.
As the world gets used to new forms of interconnectedness, Africa is not left aside. Today, more than 700 million Africans are subscribed to mobile services with many wealthy Africans proudly displaying more than one cell, a symbol of a newly acquired social status. The proliferation of mobile networks has transformed communications, businesses or banking, enabling a jump unimaginable just a few years ago. Thanks to technology we are witnessing new forms of integration.
Is aviation going to be the next big integration magnet?
At a time when Africa has bold aspirations, through Agenda 2063, to confront large scale challenges like the ascendant demographic curve, green industrialization and domestic resource mobilization, it is imperative that innovation be inclusive in order to facilitate the creation of decent jobs, generate investments, and contribute to the continent’s structural transformation. As a late comer, Africa has the advantage to leapfrog technologies, learn from others mistakes and reinvent things differently in a way that promotes sustainability as well as inclusiveness.
Africa's "Blue world" is made of vast lakes and rivers and an extensive ocean resource base. Thirty-eight of the fifty-four African States are coastal States. More than 90 percent of Africa’s imports and exports are conducted by sea and some of the most strategic gateways for international trade are in Africa, underscoring the geopolitical importance of the region. Maritime zones under Africa’s jurisdiction total about 13 million square kilometres including territorial seas and approximately 6.5 million square kilometres of the continental shelf.
The launch of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations by the AU leaders in June 2015 in Johannesburgwas a milestone. Once in place, the free trade area will cover more than a billion people with a continental GDP of over US$ 3 trillion.
Governance and corruption are controversial issues of great significance for sustainable development. Fostering structural transformation requires more than a national policy and strategy in order to operate effectively in an increasingly globalized world. Globalization continues to alter countries’ growth trajectories, with grave implications for the poor by affecting their access to assets and markets. African countries need to translate opportunities offered by globalization into inclusive growth, increased poverty reduction and sustainable development.
With a land mass of over 30 million square kilometers, Africa is as big as India, China, the US and most of Europe combined. Betrayed by a Mercator map projection, the common view of the size of the continent has been diminished, pretty much the same way as other characteristics of the continent.
The domino effect of five central banks - Denmark, Switzerland, the European Central bank, the bank of Japan and more recently Sweden, slashing interest rates to sub – zero levels has certainly given many the chills. Viewed as a desperate move to stimulate growth by rewarding spending and penalizing savings – it is in fact more related to the unsustainability of public expenditure modelled for a demographic curve that is no longer there.