Why is Africa so Poor despite its Natural Resources?
The African continent is famous for its poverty But many people don’t know the complete reason why Africa is so poor.
While we all have a vague idea such as corruption, colonisation, or foreign interference, yet all these reasons ignore WHY any of those things can happen in the first place.
In this article, we will look from the point when African countries were rich and powerful, how over the centuries Africa lost its wealth, and why Africa hasn’t been able to crawl out of its poverty while so many other countries and former colonies have.
[RICH AFRICA] And to do this we need to start in the 14th century.
In this century Africa was rich with Eastern Africa connected to the Indian Ocean trade while West Africa was home to the richest person to have ever lived: a man named Manse Musa.
While many historians throughout history have concluded that Africa barely has any history aside from mummies and pyramids, it is important to remember that for most of history, much of Africa was as well connected to the rest of the world like Europe or Asia.
They developed metallurgy that was on par with Europe and Asia, developed complex mathematical theories, and had intricate systems of governments with city-states, kingdoms, and empires.
So what changed? Well, in the 14th and 15th century Africa’s prosperity began to fall behind that of the rest of the world. This was because of two external forces: the Ottoman
Empire and Western European Empires. We will start with the Ottoman Empire.
Because the Ottomans required slaves and the way they got slaves were through war: they would go into villages, towns, and cities to capture the men, women, and children to be sold as slaves back home.
And the easiest and cheapest place to get new slaves was Eastern Africa.
And so slave traders were able to earn a lot of money by buying or capturing East Africans to sell them to the Ottomans.
This trade continued all the way into the 19th century.
Something similar was happening with Western European Empires. At first, European traders came to west Africa to trade salt in exchange for gold and ivory.
Later Europeans sailed around Africa to get to Asia. As a result, West Africa became an important location for European traders to stock up on supplies on their way to and from Asia.
Soon after Europeans tried going to East Asia directly by crossing the Atlantic but instead they stumbled upon the Americas.
In these Americas, the Europeans set up colonies. And these colonies would have the same system of government as that of Europe: with nobility, barons, clergy, knights, and peasants.
But those Europeans had a problem: the native Americans, who were supposed to become the new peasants, were dying from diseases like smallpox, measles, bubonic plague, and many more.
And a dead peasant is an unproductive peasant, so where would they find new peasants for American colonies?
Well, they found them on the Western Africa slave markets.
At the time Western Africa had slavery but it wasn’t the type of slavery we often think of.
A slave often had similar rights as non-slaves, their children weren’t automatically slaves themselves, and they were often part of the family structure rather than a worker.
And so European traders began buying slaves from West Africa.
West Africans were happy to sell European slaves because their own gold mines were drying up in the 15th century and they were looking for a new way to earn money.
But how do you get new slaves? Well, you go to war for them.
Various African countries went to war with their neighbours, captured their citizens, and then sold those citizens to the Europeans.
Prominent slave countries were the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire, the Bono State, and the Songhai Empire.
From the perspective of African rulers, this seemed like a good deal: they were weakening their rivals while earning lots of money in the process.
And so over time slavery changed from a relatively small market where slaves had rights, into a large system of warfare where slaves became property to be sold to the highest bidder.
This evolved into a system where traders would go to Africa to buy slaves and put as many as they could fit onto their ships.
They would then sail to the Americas where those slaves were sold to work to death in the fields.
Those slave traders then bought raw materials those slaves produced such as sugar cane, cotton, or cacao, sail to Europe, and sell those raw materials for a profit.
In Europe, those materials would be turned into manufactured goods like rum, clothing, or weapons.
The traders then bought those manufactured goods and sailed back to Africa to sell those manufactured goods and use the profits to buy new slaves.
This was a good deal for everybody except the slaves: the Americans received slaves to use in the plantations, the Europeans received raw materials, and the West-Africans received manufactured good and the plight of the slaves was not an issue to them.
While at times Europeans tried to take slaves by force, this always failed because the African kingdoms were far too strong at the time.
And so they maintained friendly relations with whichever country was willing to sell slaves.
Over the centuries, empires collapsed into civil wars and the slave traders were more than willing to buy their former trade partners as slaves to be shipped off to the Americas.
And so as empires rose and fell, there were always merchants willing to buy slaves.
Such as happened in the Kingdom of Congo, which fell apart into various factions. Each of those factions needed weapons and money to fund their war effort and so they captured slaves from other parts of the former Kingdom of Congo and sold them to Portuguese traders.
And as Europeans founded more and more colonies in the Americas, the more slaves could be sold, and the richer the traders became.
But this trade had a long-term effect on the economies of Africa, both in West Africa as well as East Africa with the Ottomans.
Because before industrialization, the economy of a country was determined by the number of people living in the country.
The more people you had, the larger your economy was. And if you had a large economy then you could have a small portion of your population focus on producing things other than food.
In Europe, for example, craftspeople produced all sorts of things from alcoholic drinks, steel, muskets, cigars, textiles, dyed clothing, and of course that sweet sweet delicious chocolate.
But it took centuries for these industries to fully mature.
But in Africa, these types of industries never matured as they did in the rest of the world.
Because in Africa craftspeople were enslaved. And this had a tremendous impact on the African economy: while European, Asian, and American industries kept growing and kept improving, Africa’s industries stagnated.
And soon they could no longer compete with European and Asian imports and the African industries became small and insignificant, because you could buy better and cheaper products from Asian and European markets.
Why is Africa so Poor despite its Natural Resources?
But you might be asking yourself: why did the Africans go along with this? Well, because they had to.
When you have several warlike empires surrounding you, you yourself have to invest in a strong military to protect yourself.
But if you put more money into the military, it means there is less money for you to spend on your own economy.
So if an African leader realized what was going on, they couldn’t invest in industries because they had to protect themselves.
And so, all the way into the 19th century Africa’s economies were slowly declining because the slave trade slowly destroyed the African economy While making a huge profit for those who captured or sold slaves.
But why did Western Europeans and the Ottomans weaken Africa for 100s of years? Well, because it was convenient for the people in charge at that time.
It wasn’t some grand plan, but instead, each government, trader, and company saw an opportunity in Africa to earn profit.
This profit came at the expense of African long-term wealth with most of the people involved probably not realising this.
And when a particular region becomes weaker, there are always the strong who will exploit the weak.
And in the 19th century, three major events happened that would solidify African poverty.
The first was an end to slavery. All of a sudden African slave traders were losing customers because slavery was becoming illegal across the world.
And this was a big problem for African countries because their economies relied on exporting slaves and importing foreign goods…
But now they lost their main source of income.
And because Africa had not built up any other industries because of the slave trade, it did not have another source of income with which it could trade with the outside world. So Africans could no longer buy many of the goods and tools they relied on. And as a result, the African economies slowly collapsed in the 19th century.
The second major event in the 19th century was industrialisation. Europeans and Americans started to outproduce the rest of the world.
Africa became insignificant in world affairs by the middle of the 19th century.
Many of the stereotypes about Africans, such as that they have no history, no established governments, and various racist beliefs came about in this time period: when Africa had become weak with little to offer the outside world and the outside world taking little interest in Africa.
And then the third major event happened in the 1870s.
With Africa’s economy in shambles and European industrialisation in full swing, Europe all of a sudden had the ability to transport vast amounts of heavy materials across oceans.
Before it would not be profitable to transport heavy ores from Africa to Europe because the technology simply wasn’t available yet to make it profitable.
But steam technology meant trains, steamboats, and factories that could transport and produce goods at a profit.
And in 1871, the king of Belgium decided that Belgium should have a colony, looked at the world map, and noticed that Africa was both weak and available.
And so once again the strong took advantage of the weak…
Soon other European nations joined and almost all of Africa was colonized by Western and Southern European Empires until Africa looked like this… and like this after WW1.
And this had 3 significant results for Africa: The first is the increased poverty.
European colonizers cared little for the people living in the colony: Africans were driven out of the most fertile regions to make space for European settlers, plantations were built for Africans to work and for Europeans to own, and the taxes Africans paid was rarely spent on improving their lives but instead on continuing their own oppression.
The European colonizers were only interested in extracting wealth from their colonies, constructing roads and railroads and ports to transport raw materials to Europe and North America.
In essence, whatever wealth Africans had, was systematically taken from them and handed over to European settlers.
A prominent example is the Congo Free State, where they worked millions of people to their deaths.
Btw, if you’re curious what the ‘free’ stands for in the Congo Free State… it meant ‘free of oversight’ so the rulers of this colony could exploit the locals without any interference.
The second is the infrastructure, which was designed specifically to transport raw materials to their European overlords.
The first president of Togo said it quite well “the effects of the policy of the colonial powers has been the economic isolation of peoples who live side by side, in some instances within a few miles of each other.
Although I can call Paris from my office telephone […] here in Lome, I cannot place a call to Lagos in Nigeria only 250 miles away.
Again, while it takes a short time to send an air-mail letter to Paris, it takes several days for the same letter to reach Accra, a mere 132 miles away.
Railroads rarely connect at international boundaries.
Roads have been constructed from the coast inland but very few join economic centres of trade.
The productive central regions of Togo, [Benin], and Ghana are as remote from each other as if they were on separate continents”.
And the third result was that by replacing all the African leaders with European leaders that Africa was losing vital skills in terms of governing themselves.
Such as business managers, government leaders, or accountants, as well as practical skills such as mechanics, construction workers, or medical professionals.
In short: Africans were denied the very skills they needed to run and maintain a country.
And that was a problem when Africans started demanding their independence after WW2, when protests, riots, and rebellions popped up across the continent until the colonizers realized that a few million Europeans simply couldn’t control over 200 million Africans if those Africans refused to cooperate.
And so between 1945 and 1975, almost every African colony became independent. At the time it was thought that if Africans would once again rule Africa that wealth would soon follow.
But this didn’t happen. But why not?
History has shown us that former colonies can become wealthy countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, or South Korea. Yet not a single country in Africa is what we call a ‘developed country’. And the reason for this is how the colonizers left Africa.
Because when people don’t have the skills to run a country, when communities don’t connect, and when prosperity is already rare, it becomes very difficult for the leaders of that country to bring prosperity to that country.
But at the same time, leaders of African independence movements promised the African people prosperity after independence.
So how were African leaders going to fulfil this promise of wealth and prosperity?
Well, for most African countries the solution was an economic system called ‘African Socialism’.
The way this system works is that many industries would be controlled by the national government, such as mining, construction, plantations, etc.
It would then use all of the nation’s resources to industrialize because at the time manufacturing jobs paid higher salaries than farming jobs and so decided that the best way for Africa to become rich was to replace low-paying jobs in agriculture and mining with high-paying jobs in factories.
It made foreign goods more expensive by putting extra taxes on those goods, arguing that if foreign products are more expensive, then people will need to buy goods from their own country instead.
The leaders were hoping that foreign investors would come to their countries because those foreign businesses wouldn’t have to pay those extra taxes if they just moved some of their factories to Africa. And luckily for Africa at the time, they gained independence during the cold war.
And so they could receive foreign aid from either The West or from the Soviet Union in exchange for being on their side in the cold war.
And while every African country had different economic policies, they were all similar to this.
But African Socialism simply didn’t work. First of all, the trade restriction meant that African countries couldn’t sell products to each other.
Meaning it was hard to find customers to buy any products made in Africa.
As a result, none of the industries could grow large enough to be able to compete with the industries of North America, Europe, or East Asia.
And so nobody else wanted to buy African goods either because they could get those same goods better and cheaper from other countries.
Secondly, a single large government isn’t able to adapt to changes in world markets as quickly as hundreds of smaller businesses.
Meaning that centrally planned economies will always be less efficient than economies that have lots of different businesses competing with each other. thirdly, Africans simply lacked the skills and education required to work in manufacturing jobs in the first place, meaning that they were far less efficient than their better-educated counterparts in the rest of the world.
For example, out of the 200 million Black Africans in the 1950s, only 8000 received secondary education, 200 a university education, and ⅓ of the student-age population went to primary school.
So it would take decades before enough qualified professionals would join the job market.…
And so African countries lacked the people needed to make their countries thrive.
The fourth reason why it didn’t work is not so much about African Socialism itself, but about the continent of Africa.
Because Africa’s landscape is harsh with some places experiencing droughts lasting years, such as a drought which lasted from 1968-73, causing large food shortages.
While other parts have locusts and Red-billed quelea birds which makes agriculture nearly impossible.
The fifth reason was disease: yellow fever, smallpox, sleeping sickness, and malaria are but a few of the diseases which plagued African development.
And while smallpox was being eradicated, new diseases were spreading such as River Blindness, where worms live inside your eyes and have become the second largest cause of blindness worldwide.
Or take Bilharzia, caused by a worm that likes to live in rivers, it infects the urinary tracts or intestines, which can lead to kidney failure, infertility, and in children can cause poor growth and learning difficulties.
Why is Africa so Poor despite its Natural Resources?
All of these diseases are easily preventable in rich countries with access to water sanitation facilities and modern medicine… but because Africans were poor, they couldn’t afford the doctors, clinics, and medicine they needed to fight those diseases.
And so a combination of trade barriers, inefficient governments, a lack of education, harsh environments, and disease meant that this system was doomed to fail from the very beginning.
There was simply no way for any African nation to reach wealth and prosperity at that time, because of the underdeveloped countries they inherited from their former colonizers…
But this raises a new question: why did African countries choose this system in the first place?
[WHY DID THEY CHOOSE THIS SYSTEM?] Well, the reason is that this was the system that they inherited from their former colonizers; where the colonial government-controlled nearly every aspect of the colony’s economy.
And if they wanted to switch to a free market system like Western Europe, East Asia, or North America then they would need business people and entrepreneurs to set up new businesses… but the problem with this was that Africans weren’t allowed to run their own businesses under colonialism, so the entrepreneurial attitude didn’t exist.
On top of that, due to colonialism Africans were never trained in modern skills.
So if you wanted to open a factory, for example, it would be impossible to find qualified employees who knew how to run the machines and factories.
In Today’s world, we know the answer to this dilemma because we’ve seen countries like Singapore, Vietnam, and China in similar predicaments.
But back in the 1940s through 70s there were no such examples to follow… except for countries like Japan and the USSR who each gained economic development through strict government control.
Except those two countries did so through the deaths of millions and already had an educated population when they began their economic development projects. And so Africa’s leaders thought African Socialism was the best way to create wealth and prosperity for their countries.
[SK] Let’s compare this to a colony that DID become wealthy after independence: South Korea.
They decided to focus on just a few industries such as electronics, agriculture, and steel and only putting trade barriers on THOSE products.
South Korea would then trade those products with things it didn’t produce itself. As a result, South Korea became a world leader in things like electronics and has become one of the richest countries in the world and it now has lots of high-paying jobs selling goods and services which turn a large profit, with which South Koreans can buy all the things they need from abroad.
But this only explains why Africa didn’t become wealthy after independence… However, after a few decades, Africans would have better education and would be able to indeed set up African businesses using African labour to create African industry… yet this didn’t happen until the 21st century.
So why didn’t this happen earlier? Well, this has a lot to do with the corruption that emerged after independence.
Shortly before independence, most African colonies became democratic… And these democracies were VERY unstable because they had only been around for a few years in most cases.
We still see this today, where recent democracies tend to be the least stable democracies.
And most African nations were not at all united. Some countries were lucky in that most people spoke the same language… while other countries had 100s of different languages.
And good luck to anyone trying to run a political campaign in over 100 languages.
So instead, politicians realized they could more easily win votes if they targeted specific ethnic groups…
As a result, politics was divided along ethnic lines and African countries became more and more divided with each election in the 60s and 70s.
groups of people were not only divided based on ethnicity but also separated politically based on where they were born.
From the perspective of a politician this made perfect sense: if you want to win votes, appeal to certain ethnic groups. But from the perspective of the country as a whole, it just made the country more difficult to govern over time.
And if a candidate decided to appeal to the whole country instead of specific ethnic groups then they would lose elections.
And so, through a natural process, African nations tended to become more divided after independence…
All thanks to the social and political systems left behind by their former colonizers.
A prominent example of where this went horribly wrong was Rwanda, with the Rwandan genocide. Where over half a million members of the Tutsi ethnic group were massacred along with many other crimes against humanity.
Once a party got into power they would try to keep the power for themselves.
Many Africans saw democracy as nothing more than a mess of infighting, with opposition parties abusing their power to hinder the greater national interest.
Therefore, a single-party system was created in many African nations in the years following independence by crushing the opposition.
And in countries with 100s of different cultures and languages, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to deal with all of them vying for power.
By the 1980s, the elites had taken full control over the political system in most African countries.
And so, very little changed after independence, with the European elites replaced with African elites.
And those new elites were concerned that they would be overthrown in a coup…
Why is Africa so Poor despite its Natural Resources?
So how were they going to keep themselves in power?
Well, by taking the money intended for economic development and handing them out as salaries to powerful government officials to keep them happy enough they wouldn’t start a rebellion…
But whereas colonies had oversight from their a European government who would fire anyone getting too corrupt… the new leaders had no such oversight.
And to show just how incompetent some of these governments are, in the Central African Republic the government didn’t even keep proper records of financial transactions, ignored budgets in favour of in-the-moment decisions, and government salaries could often be 3 or 4 months late. By 1964 Senegal spent 47% of the government budget on the elites, 58% in Ivory Coast, and 65% in Dahomey, now called Benin.
And if outsiders wanted access to African resources all they had to do was bribe those government officials to get access to resources.
And so western governments and companies started paying money to African elites to gain access to the resources-rich nations needed to run their own economies.
As a result, the elites became richer while the poor became even poorer.
So if you’re an oil company, all you have to do is bribe the government officials and you can extract all the oil you want. The elites would get a portion of the profits, while the people would see no benefits from resources taken from their own country…
This is a system that is still active in many parts of Africa to this day.
And if you’re a country or company that does not want to give money to corrupt politicians… then there will always be somebody else who IS willing to pay.
As a result, anyone who thinks morality is more important than those resources will always be outcompeted by the ones who ARE willing to pay the bribe.
Thus you create a system where world leaders who are willing to pay these bribes will always have an advantage over those who won’t pay bribes.
And over time bribes had become the norm in Africa. The Africans were not stupid, of course, saw what was happening.
They would often protest or even start rebellions to stop their own exploitation… but in the 1960s African countries did not yet have a strong enough military to keep the peace.
So who did they call upon to restore order? Well, their former colonizers.
The French and British in particular suppressed rebellions and protests across Africa in exchange for greater access to African resources.
For example, in 1962 French troops broke up fighting in what is now called the Republic of Congo and put down a rebellion in Cameroon.
The British meanwhile suppressed mutinies in Kenya and Tanzania. By 1965 these military interventions became common across Africa: Algeria, Congo, Benin, the CAR, Upper Volta, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia…
All independent countries and all had European troops stationed there to secure European access to African resources.
African nations experienced around 40 successful coups within the first 2 decades after independence.
And so Africa gained a reputation for being a very unstable continent.
So unstable in fact that almost nobody wanted to invest in African anymore except for their resources.
[AFRICANS ALL GROUPED] And this highlights another issue: people think of Africa as a single entity: a continent filled with poverty and war… so when someone hears about, for example, Boko Haram in Nigeria it is often grouped with the rest of Africa as just being another war in a continent filled with war… yet what most people don’t realize is that the area in which they operate is over 1000 km away from Nigeria’s economic centres and has almost no effect on business.
They are further away than Amsterdam is from Warsaw.
But companies will still refuse to do business in Africa because of this belief.
And this creates a cycle: people group Africa as a poor continent, resulting in less business, which results in Africa staying in poverty.
It is for this reason that throughout this article I used the words ‘most’, ‘almost all, or ‘few’ quite a lot to show that Africa is a diverse area and simply cannot be grouped in most cases due to this diversity in peoples, landscapes, and cultures.
Yet despite all these issues, some things did improve in Africa: by the 1980s African politics started to stabilize with fewer coups, primary school enrollment went from 36% to 63%, secondary school from 3% to 13%, life expectancy rose from 39 to 47 years, and the medical professional per person doubled.
On the whole, though, the average African was becoming poorer. However, Africans were receiving better healthcare and education… and this would be very important for Africa by the 1980s…
Because in the 1980s Africa faced 3 major issues. The first was that the infrastructure DID have started to break down. Meaning that raw materials became far more difficult to export.
The second was that Africans who did receive a proper education decided to move to another country where they would receive a better salary, meaning that Africa was losing its smartest and best-educated people.
And the third was the fall of the Soviet Union. By the 1980s the Soviet Union decided to stop participating in the cold war and focus on its own economy.
As a result, it was no longer sending as much money to African allies. In turn, western countries decided that they were also going to spend less money on Africa.
Why is Africa so Poor despite its Natural Resources?
So all of a sudden African leaders no longer had enough money to keep themselves in power with the system of bribes.
And so African leaders decided to ask western nations for financial aid…
But this time those western nations were no longer interested in giving money directly.
Instead, African nations would have to sign loans with rich countries and in exchange African countries would have to reform their economies in such a way that it would become easier for companies to do business in those countries.
And while various industries were privatised and free markets emerged, most African countries underwent few reforms.
And the reason they underwent so few reforms is that African dictators had an idea: they could pretend to privatise their economy… by selling the privatisation to the highest bidder.
Basically doing what they had been doing for the past couple of decades: bribes in exchange for access to African markets.
So in effect, nothing changed… except that this time western institutions supported this process by rewarding those dictators through foreign aid packages.
In Nigeria for example, the government privatised various state-owned businesses… of which 80% of the shares were owned by the leaders of the country.
In effect, not changing anything. In Kenya, Uganda, Zaire, Guinea and Senegal they sold government businesses… to the friends and family of government leaders.
The only industries which actually saw significant investments were oil and mineral extraction… which, just like in the 60s and 70s, had been sold off to the highest bidder by bribing government officials.
As a result, the 1980s is often dubbed ‘Africa’s Lost Decade’ and why Africa remained poor throughout the 80s.
Until 1989… Because protests were erupting all across the world: The Soviet Union, Eastern Europe,
Taiwan, South Korea, China… And Africa. Africans were once again protesting their oppression.
And so rich countries decided to switch tactics: instead of giving money to dictators for fake privatisation… they instead gave money to countries who reformed their government to be more democratic.
And so dictatorships faced two issues at once: on the one hand, their own people were getting restless while on the other hand, their income was decreasing.
And so the elites allowed for a small amount of reform, enough to appease the people and the rich countries but not enough that they would be removed from power.
Democratisation spread across Africa to Zaire, Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Gabon, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, South Africa until it spread across the continent. While some governments resisted, such for example the CAR, most did democratise at least slightly.
Each country had their own unique struggles, of course. But in general, the continent made slow but steady progress towards democracy.
Even today we still see this process in action in Africa as elections are often contested and often unfair, yet it is more democratic than dictatorships.
And this process has made Africa more stable and more open for doing business in the early 90s.
And now new leaders were in charge of Africa.
And these leaders had to fight corruption to fight poverty. And by fighting poverty, they could stay in power as this would earn them votes in future elections.
They reduced the government’s role in the economy; encouraging growth in the private sector; allowed Africans who were much better educated than in the 1960s to use their skills to develop their country; and attracted investors from abroad.
These policies primarily focussed on using the strengths of Americans themselves, rather than on having policies enforced upon them by the outside world.
“The African renaissance can only succeed if its aims and objectives are defined by Africans themselves if its programs are designed by Africans ourselves and if we take responsibility for the success or failure of our policies”.
Why is Africa so Poor despite its Natural Resources?
African countries started to work together more through institutions such as the African Union by reducing trade barriers to make trade between African countries easier, investing in stable African governments to make sure that you didn’t have to worry about a civil war right across your border, and by creating various agencies to cultivate African talents.
And these trends have affected in the last 3 decades, with some African countries now being the fastest growing economies in the world. [21ST CENTURY] And so we arrive in the 21st
century, where history is too recent to make any real historical analysis.
However, there are some trends worth mentioning. Africa is still facing many issues: they are the least prepared for climate change while probably suffering the most under it, ⅓ of all children are malnourished, ⅓ of children don’t finish high school, extremists find it easy to recruit the vast number of poor unemployed young people, pandemics are common across the continent with covid being just one among many, and the economic development of Africa is limited to certain countries.
African countries are looking at the economic successes of East Asian countries and are adapting East Asian policies for their own countries.
This is resulting in factories, agricultural centres, and tech centres, being opened across many African countries.
For example, they can make use of the fact that Africa and Europe have the same time zones and take over various administrative jobs from European-based companies for a lower price.
A new generation of Africans is entering the job markets, that are better educated and better skilled than any African generation that came before.
With these hard-working and talented people, African governments have created economic policies to harness the talents of Africans by letting them set up their own businesses in a free market that generates wealth by Africans, for Africans, in Africa.
For example, take the hyacinth plant, an invasive species on Lake Victoria. African scientists developed a method of turning this invasive plant into protein-rich animal feed.
This feed is now being sold across the world.
In the 21st century developments like these are creating a fast-growing middle class with rising spending power.
This middle class will want to buy things with that extra money and this will allow Africa to sell many more goods to other Africans, which in turn allows Africans to create industries specifically suited for the African market… A market often neglected by rich countries.
And while Africa is still in the position where it mostly exports raw materials it is currently experiencing an economic development that, if it continues, will finally bring an end to the large-scale poverty that has systematically plagued Africa for centuries.
Africans are not just hopeful of the future but for the first time since colonisation are actually gaining the tools that will create this future.
Why is Africa so Poor despite its Natural Resources?