Africa on the rise

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A decade ago the Economist labeled Africa "the hopeless continent." A description the magazine now regrets.

A profound change has swept over this troubled continent.

Labour productivity has been rising. It is now growing by, on average, 2.7% a year. Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has increased by 200% since 2000. Inflation dropped from 22% in the 1990s to 8% in the past decade. Foreign debts declined by a quarter, budget deficits by two-thirds. In eight of the past ten years, according to the World Bank, sub-Saharan growth has been faster than East Asia’s.

Over the next 40 years Africa's population will double, from 1 billion to 2 billion. This is in contrast to a declining and ageing population in Europe.

The majority of Africans remain below the poverty line but over the last twenty years mortality rates for children under five have dropped from 165 per 1,000 births to 118. A genuine middle class is emerging. Africa's economies are now much less dependent on commodity prices. More than 600 million Africans have mobile phones.

Politically stability is improving. Foreign investment is five times greater than it was a decade ago, and much more than Africa receives in foreign aid.

40% of Africans are now city dwellers, up from 30% a decade ago.

This is an age of opportunity in Africa, not just economically, but for the gospel.