Africa has come a long way since the year 2000 when The Economist published this magazine branding the continent as hopeless.
Since the turn of the century, countries in sub-Saharan Africa achieved a growth rate of 6.2%, by comparison, that is twice the growth rate of countries in Latin America during the same time period.
In 2015, 5 of the 10 economies who grew the most were in Africa, these are; The Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, and The Democratic Republic of Congo. The growth rate of these countries exceeded 7%.
All of these growths have led to some significant social consequences. Life expectancy has increased significantly over the last decade, child mortality figures and those dying from starvation has been cut in half.
Extreme poverty used to affect 58% of the population in 1999 now it is decreased to just 35%.
It is still true that more than 420million people are still suffering from extreme poverty in Africa, which is tragic but fortunately, the future is brighter than ever.
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One thing is certain, Africa is going to have a major global role over the coming decades.
Covid-19 and the events of 2020 might be threatening to slow down all this hard-won progress.
This is a quick look at some of the fine individuals leading Africa away from its troubled past into a glorious future.
Nana Akufo Addo
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Addo came to power after defeating the then incumbent in 2016, President Akufo Addo who is passionate about the development of his nation beyond aids says this requires a deliberate and qualitative change.
In 2018, a Canada based research organization named Akufo Addo as Africa’s best president. The organization said Addo has been a man of the people since he won the 2016 elections, with policies such as free secondary education, planting for food, and jobs among others.
He was also praised for his commitment to the development of Ghana, the near absence of corruption allegations under his rule, and his government’s respect for the rule of law.
All these policies have shaped Ghana into a top tourist destination, attracting up to 1.5 million visitors every year.
If Africa were a country, then Paul Kagame will most likely be its president.
When Kagame became president in the year 2000 after a brutal genocide that killed almost 1 million people, he had two clear goals; unify the country’s ethnic groups and pull the country out of the extreme poverty that affects up to 90% of the population at the time.
20 years later these goals have been reached, the country is stable, prosperous, unified, and in large part reconciled.
Social services such as education, healthcare, housing, and livestock are provided to the needy with no distinction of ethnicity or region.
Macky Sall has been Senegal’s president since 2012when his coalition defeated the then incumbent Abdoulaye Wade.
In January 2016, Sall supported proposed constitutional reforms that would limit any president to two consecutive terms of office, and reduce the term of office from seven years to five years.
Since his elections in 2012, Sall has focused on major infrastructure projects. He portrayed himself as a modernizer, who has helped to boost economic growth to more than 6% a year, one of the highest rates in Africa.
There are two major infrastructure projects worth mentioning;
One is the 1.9km Senegambia Bridge constructed over the river Gambia which provides an important link allowing people from the north of Senegal to reach the south with ease.
The second major project is the Museum of Black Civilizations inaugurated in the capital, Dakar.
The idea of this museum has been in the works for more than 50 years. Construction was finally made possible after a $34million Chinese investment in 2018.
The museum has room for some 18,000 artworks, and the directors of the institution hope to fill that space with looted African arts, most of which currently sit in European museums.