Large Thinking: Africa in 2050

Charles Robertson is an economist who recently wrote a book called “The Fastest Billion“. He gave a talk at TED about Africa, and laid out some pretty interesting predictions.

For one thing, he believes Africa is a few years behind India, who are themselves a few years behind China in terms of economic growth. By taking that hypothesis, he’s extrapolated out what we can expect from Africa in the next 40 years.

What to Expect from Africa in 2050

  • $2 trillion economy -> $29 trillion economy
  • Life expectancy: 13 more years
  • Population doubles from 1 billion to 2 billion
  • Household incomes up 700%

If these projections are accurate, investing in Africa is a really good opportunity.

One of the unique pieces to this outlook is the chance for an average “westerner” to be directly involved via technology. India’s growth was reserved for big players like Coca-Cola with scores of employees while African growth is not limited to Africans.

Ok. So how do you find opportunities in Africa? Ask someone who lives there, I guess. Update: I asked an African. An interview with my friend Blessing is coming up soon.

Isn’t Investing in Africa Greedy?

No. Investment makes growth faster. Jumping into a growing economy with investment, and talent, is exactly what should happen next for African success. It’s right to be nervous about colonialism, and westerners rolling in to take over. That went really really badly last time. But making people’s lives better through products they want to buy and hiring people in the process is hardly colonialism.

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2 thoughts on “Large Thinking: Africa in 2050”

  1. It can never be stressed enough how investing in Africa is not at all homogeneous throughout the continent. Demographics, legislation, opportunities, etc. are completely different across borders. Angola is nothing like DRC or Egypt. But speaking of Angola, a very important factor is having a local connection. Someone that knows and can represent your business and navigate the local environment.

    1. Yeah absolutely.

      This article was trying to point out a larger opportunity where there are millions of tiny great opportunities. But of course South Africa and Sudan are *slightly* different from each other. Maybe, in some ways. 😉


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