AfDB predicts shrouded uncertainty for Africa in next 50 years

A new report has described Africa’s outlook in terms of trends in population, economic challenges, climate change, natural resources and the prospects for African integration as shrouded in uncertainty.

The report prepared by the African Development Bank (AfDB) with the help of the French Agency for Development (AFD) was looking far into the future to explore what the continent will be like in 2060 from now.

According to the Bank, the main forecasts in the report are a decline in conflict, more urbanization, more migration and less reliance on agriculture.

“The future, as always, is shrouded in uncertainty. But many of the trends that will determine Africa’s future prospects are already visible today. So we can begin to identify the challenges and opportunities that lie before us,” said the Bank based on the report released mid-September 2011.

Stating the main objective of the report titled “Africa in 50 Years’ Time – the Road towards Inclusive Growth,” the AfDB said is to “reduce uncertainties, to anticipate the changes and to explore the possibilities and prospects for Africa by determining the possible paths, defining all the constraints and identifying the likely scenarios.”

The AfDB noted that the report identifies the drivers of change and their likely consequences over the next half century, and proposes policy choices to help Africa to fulfill its future potential. “Analysis indicates that by 2060 gradual exogenous changes will have transformed the opportunities and challenges facing Africa in at least six dimensions. Urbanization will accelerate – Migration will increase – Agriculture may well decline, both in relative and absolute importance.”

“Natural resources will remain an important part of the development picture and a major development challenge. Some African economies may have learned to compete globally, and conflicts will continue to diminish but not wholly disappear,” it adds.

The report, according to the Bank, argues that how individual economies in Africa respond to these challenges will depend on the choices they make, individually and collectively. “Broadly, countries in the region need to respond by investing in their cities, managing migration, transforming agriculture, managing their natural resources better, and making concerted efforts to break in at the bottom of the global market in goods and services.”

It therefore called for a collective action – by Africans, themselves, in the form of deeper regional integration, and by the international community in the form of improved performance on trade and aid – must support the efforts of individual counties.

By Ekow Quandzie

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