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6 Megatrends That Are Changing Africa—and How to Navigate Them

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Picture the world’s children in 2050. Where do they come from? The answer might surprise you. If today’s demographic trends continue, almost half of all people under 18—about 40%—will have been born and raised in Africa.

As digital penetration increases, a growing number will be adept users of technology, and some will be part of a new generation of world-class innovators in Africa.

Most of this population will grow up in cities, often in urban areas that doubled in size during their childhood. Regardless of where they live, many may be desperately affected by the consequences of climate change.

Moreover, as these young Africans grow up, they will become an enormous consumer market and a large share of the global workforce. As a group, they could become influential in the growth of international business and the evolution of emerging markets.

So far, however, none of the stakeholder institutions that will be involved in their lives—businesses, governments, civil society organizations, and development agencies—are fully prepared for the opportunities and challenges created by this new demographic.

Why Africa’s Future Matters

The ongoing African baby boom is just one of six broad megatrends that are already beginning to affect the continent. Others include the accelerating urbanization of the region into megacities, the expansion of internet and digital penetration, and the increasing effects of climate change. Two other factors that will shape Africa’s future are a growing movement toward international cooperation within the continent and the rise of local innovation, including many advances led by women and young entrepreneurs.

To better understand these megatrends—and to suggest game-changing moves that might help the continent reach its remarkable potential—we conducted an in-depth strategic analysis of prospects for Africa over the next 30 years.

More than 120 experts from a wide range of backgrounds participated in interviews, workshops, and focus groups. These advisors included African political and business leaders, including executives of leading firms across sectors; influential figures in civil society, academia, and key not-for-profit organizations; thought leaders on African economics, society, and development; and leaders from US government agencies working in Africa (including the project sponsor, USAID).

The mood in most of these conversations reflected a mix of excitement and concern. Unlocking the power of Africa’s people is a daunting task—but doing so will be fundamental to achieving a brighter future for African citizens, and for economic growth and development in the rest of the world as well.

The Six Megatrends

Here is a closer look at the most significant megatrends forging the Africa of the mid-21st century.

Africa’s People Will Be Young

By 2050, the population of the continent, including sub-Saharan and North Africa, will double to reach 2.5 billion. As much as 60% of Africa’s people will be under 25. A huge working-age population can be a disruptive force, leading to unrest and migration if there are insufficient jobs. But with ample opportunity, the youthful demographics can help catalyze economic growth, particularly in domains that require motivated and skilled labour, such as manufacturing, energy (especially the transition to green sources), and digital technology.

With its young population and an estimated combined GDP of $2.96 trillion in 2022, Africa is poised to become the world’s largest growth market for consumer goods and services. It may also serve as a primary resource for talent, exporting digital natives and skilled labour to the rest of the world. These bright futures can only come to pass, however, if the region’s educational institutions, supported by government and private investment, can provide the necessary schooling, skills training, and related services—a task that could require as many as 17 million additional professional educators. “If Africa is to create jobs for the youth bulge,” says Corporate Council on Africa CEO Florie Liser, “[its countries will] need to harness their capability to add value, to become bigger players in regional and global supply chains, and thereby impact their development.”

Africa’s Cities Will Be Crowded

Urban areas in Africa will attract an additional 1 billion residents by 2050. Experts forecast the urban population to triple and the number of “megacities” —densely settled areas with 10 million or more residents—to increase from three (currently Cairo, Kinshasa, and Lagos) to 14. The growth of African cities will add vibrancy to the economy and culture of the region, attracting significant foreign investment and strengthening global business and trade ties.

When urbanization occurs this abruptly, it can destabilize a region; it can be challenging to provide basic services such as electric power and education, along with transportation links. However, if investment in infrastructure can occur rapidly enough, then urbanization tends to accelerate GDP and consumer spending, facilitate entrepreneurship and innovation, create new markets, and increase worker productivity. It can also lead to greater interchange between the government, the private sector, and the employee base. “Without that dialogue,” says Yvonne Tsikata, former World Bank Vice President and Corporate Secretary, “we will not succeed in achieving our development goals.”

The Continent Will Be Vulnerable To Climate Change

Despite contributing less than 4% to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 35 of the 50 countries most at risk from climate change effects are located in Africa. The continent can expect a temperature increase that will occur 1.5 times faster than the global average increase. This will lead to total deglaciation of Africa’s mountainous areas by 2050, rising sea levels along the coasts, and more extreme weather events, including droughts, storms, floods, and excessive heat and cold. These changes will have catastrophic impact on biodiversity and animal habitats—especially worrying because Africa is home to 25% of the world’s remaining rainforests. Climate change will also adversely affect some African livelihoods, such as farming and energy-related jobs, which are vulnerable to weather-related conditions. It may also intensify the threat from viruses and other health risks.

To mitigate these effects, the continent’s leaders will have to address current gaps in the availability of climate-related data. “We need to think about how to get accurate information to people on the ground in a timely manner,” says Joanne Yawitch, CEO of the National Business Initiative in South Africa, “and educate people on how to act on the data.” Many experts believe that climate-related challenges could drive Africa to become a center of innovation, leading the development of solutions.

Among the possibilities, which could add up to a $320 billion industrial sector in Africa, are renewable energy (building on the region’s abundance of solar, wind, and geothermal resources and its experience with off-the-grid solar solutions), carbon sequestration (taking advantage of Africa’s lands, forests, and coastlines), and new approaches to sustainable land use and agriculture. All of these are potential vehicles for green job creation.

Africa Will Move Quickly Into Digital Technology

This will occur more rapidly than many people currently expect. Africa’s digital tech sector, including software, cloud, and internet services, has experienced tremendous growth since 2010. Currently, its five-year growth rate is at 47%. Internet penetration has grown tenfold in the past 12 years, and the internet economy will reach $712 billion by 2050. There are more than 600 active digital and technological hubs across the continent, all making notable advances in fostering innovation and with both home-grown and global companies participating. The largest clusters of digital activity are in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa—with Ghana, Morocco, and Tunisia close behind.

“We’ve seen some exciting green shoots of growing digital capacity on the continent, but there’s more work to be done,” says Nitin Gajria, Managing Director, Google Sub-Saharan Africa. “The key pillars to advancing Africa’s digital growth are increasing connectivity; investing in entrepreneurs; creating affordable, fit-for-context products; and supporting civil society in doing these.” With appropriate investments in infrastructure, upskilling, and education at a large scale, Africa’s immense working-age population could position it as one of the world’s leaders in digital services.

The Region Will Be More Open To Intracontinental Cooperation

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent food crisis have demonstrated to African decision-makers in the public and private sectors that the continent needs to become more self-sufficient. Its countries and businesses need to cooperate more and reduce their reliance on international support. A few initiatives have begun to move Africa in this direction.

For example, in 2018, 44 of the 55 African countries signed the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA), establishing the world’s largest such trade bloc in terms of population and land area, covering 1.3 billion people. As of 2021, it has been signed by 54 member states and is gradually advancing to becoming operational. If the pact can overcome complex hurdles of the past—such as logistics, visas, and existing barriers to trade—it could produce substantial positive economic value. “The AfCFTA is very promising. Its potential impact in fighting key continental challenges such as food insecurity is huge,” comments former Senior Vice President of the African Development Bank Charles Boamah. “The political will that enabled this landmark agreement needs to be sustained to assure effective implementation and full realization of the promise.”

Another indicator of support for intracontinental cooperation was the African Union’s adoption in 2015 of Agenda 2063, a blueprint for future projects such as high-speed rail systems. There is also more interest in strengthening continental and regional organizations such as the AU, Southern African Development Community, and the Economic Community of West African States.

Africa Will Be a More Active Source Of Innovation And Entrepreneurship

About 22% of working-age Africans start small businesses, as compared to 18% in Latin America and 13% in Asia. The continent has a history of breakthrough innovation in recent years, including mobile payment and digital health care platforms. The continent’s entrepreneurial culture is especially promising from the standpoint of gender parity. Women from Africa are twice as likely to start an enterprise as women in other geographies. This rise in innovation is supported by the continent’s digital hubs, but is not limited to information and communications technology. Entrepreneurship in Africa is beginning to fuel transformative change in sectors such as energy, health services, pharmaceuticals, and sustainable agriculture and land use. In fact, the agricultural sector could grow to as much as $320 billion per year in annual revenues by 2030, helping to solve the challenges of food shortages related to climate change. Africa could even evolve into a breadbasket for Europe and the Middle East.

“Nigeria remains at the nexus of innovation in Africa, with many young innovators designing solutions ranging from e-health to agritech, thereby boosting macro-economic gains and creating a more inclusive economy. This is critical as Africa’s pressing challenges can be mitigated through sustainable solutions and partnerships between the government and private sector players,” according to Tolu Oyekan, Managing Director & Partner, Head of BCG, Nigeria.

Meeting the Opportunities and Challenges

If these megatrends can be navigated successfully, they could help in advancing Africa’s social and economic progress. The world has seen many emerging economies parlay their young populations and entrepreneurial spirit into innovative growth. With targeted investment and thoughtful action, the same could be true for Africa.

One critical enabler to African innovation should be the expansion and availability of funding sources, including venture capital and private equity. “There are many bright innovators on the continent who have incredible ideas, but can’t monetize them due to an inability to access capital,” says Nicholas Nesbitt, chairman of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance. “Creating new channels for investments will be key to supporting African innovation.”

If you would like to learn more about significant trends and promising policy developments in Africa, see the full report here. The report also details two game-changing concepts with the strongest potential to drive African development over the next decade: digital skills acceleration and climate analytics and planning. This research was funded by the USAID Mission to the African Union and conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

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How to Properly Store and Preserve Value of Dry Hay Bales

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By Regina Thomas

Hay bales are a key ingredient in many farm animals’ diets, providing them with the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy. However, storing and preserving hay bales can be challenging, as they are susceptible to damage from weather, pests, and other factors. Here are eight tips for properly storing and preserving your hay bales.

1. Choose a Dry, Sunny Spot for Storage

One way to properly store and preserve the value of dry hay bales is to choose a dry, sunny spot for storage. Hay bales are susceptible to mould and rot if stored in a moist location, so it is important to find a spot that will stay dry. A sunny spot will also help to prevent mould growth by keeping the bales warm and dry. If you cannot find a sunny spot, you can protect your bales by covering them with a tarp or plastic sheet.

2. Stack the Bales on Pallets

Another way to properly store and preserve the value of dry hay bales is to stack the bales on pallets. This will help keep the bales off the ground, preventing moisture from seeping in and damaging the hay. Stacking the bales on pallets will also allow air to circulate them, further preventing mould growth. If you are stacking the bales in a barn or shed, leave enough space between the rows for ventilation.

3. Inspect the Bales Regularly

It is vital to inspect the bales regularly to ensure that they are not becoming damp or mouldy. If you see any signs of moisture, move the affected bale to a drier location immediately. Mould can spread quickly through a stack of hay bales, so it is important to catch it early. By following these simple storage tips, you can help to preserve the value of your dry hay bales.

4. Use a Tarp or Other Cover to Protect Bales from Direct Sunlight

Another excellent way to properly store and preserve the value of dry hay bales is to use a tarp to protect them from direct sunlight. Hay bales are extremely flammable; even a small spark can set them ablaze. By using a fire retardant tarp, you can help to prevent any tragic accidents from happening. In addition, the tarp will also help to keep the hay dry and free from mould and mildew. Tarps are inexpensive and easy to find, so there’s no excuse not to use one. Make sure to store your hay bales in a safe, dry place, and you’ll enjoy their benefits for years to come.

5. Rotate Your Stock

Another step in preserving hay bales is to rotate them regularly. This means using the oldest bales and storing new ones at the back of your storage area. This helps to prevent your hay from going bad and keeps it in good condition. Rotating your stock is essential to preserving the value of your dry hay bales.

6. Avoid Excessive Moisture

If you’re planning to store dry hay bales for any time, it’s important to take steps to prevent excessive moisture from damaging the hay. One way to do this is to store the bales in a well-ventilated area where they won’t be exposed to excessive humidity. It’s also a good idea to cover the bales with a tarp or other breathable cover to further protect them from moisture.

7. Use Pest Control Methods If Necessary

If you live in an area with many pests, it’s important to protect your hay. Insects can quickly destroy a bale of hay, making it worthless. Several pest control methods are available, and you should choose the one that best suits your needs.

One popular method is to cover the hay with a plastic sheet. This will create a barrier that will keep most pests out. You can also try using insecticides but follow the instructions carefully.

Conclusion

By following these simple tips, you can help to preserve the value of your dry hay bales and keep them in good condition for years to come. Hay is a valuable commodity, so protecting it from damage is important. By storing the bales properly and rotating your stock regularly, you can help to ensure that your hay bales will stay in a good state for a long time.

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2023 Election: The Role of Media Monitoring Services

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By Queen Nwabueze

This 2023 election season is a true test of the much-vaunted objectivity of journalists.

Journalism’s pursuit of objectivity strives to enable readers to form their OWN opinions about a story. This implies that the media (mainstream and digital) must present the facts solely before allowing the potential voters to offer them their interpretation. Again, this means that news organisations should present the facts as they are, whether or not they agree with them.

Lovely on paper, yeah? But has this really been the focus of our media since the polls for 2023 began to be conducted? No!

A well-liked TV station reporter was recently discredited for having ties to a well-liked political party (names withheld for ethical reasons).

Hold on for a moment! Let’s sketch out the perfect situation once more. In journalism, objectivity means refusing to embellish any facts or details in order to strengthen a narrative or better align a topic with a predetermined objective. Similarly, according to the profession of journalism’s neutrality standards, news should be reported in an objective, fair, and impartial way. In actuality, according to this idea, journalists should support NONE of the competing political parties and should instead just present the pertinent information to everybody.

How about disengagement? The journalist’s emotional stance is referred to as detachment. Basically, reporters MUST approach topics not only objectively but also with a cold, emotionless mentality. This tactic calls for the telling of tales in a calm, collected manner, allowing potential voters to make their own decisions apart from the influence of social or traditional media. Again, all of these principles seem sensible on paper.

You might be wondering why this article focuses so much on the Disneyland roles that the media play during elections.

Sorry, but without hammering our media, we cannot properly address the subject of “2023 Election: The Role of Media Monitoring Services.” The role of media monitoring services should reflect the fact that the media’s actions and inactions are at the centre of every aspect of elections and electioneering. That is the reality!

Election seasons do in fact coincide with times of increased media attention and reporting, with each political party seemingly desperate to take the helm of the nation, as we’ve seen in more recent years. These times of change are frequently marked by extremely competitive rhetoric, escalating tensions, occasional political bullying, and occasionally even violent confrontation and death desires.

Since the media is the main driver of these dynamics, political candidates and campaign offices should use media monitoring services, if only to uncover information that is hidden from plain view and has the potential to prevent voters from receiving enough information to make informed voting decisions.

You may track your candidacy, your opponents, public media conversation, and even detractors in real-time across all media in Nigeria, including print, online, broadcast, and social. P+ Measurement Services is one such media monitoring service.

Largely as a result of Walter Lippmann’s work, the concept of objectivity in journalism as we know it now exists. After the excesses of yellow journalism, Lippmann urged impartiality in journalism. The yellows of the period, he said, had served their role, but the populace needed to hear the truth, not a “romanticized version of it.”

Not to cry anymore over already spilled milk, but this article strongly suggests that you hire expert media monitors to join your campaign organization and conduct your listening on your behalf. Do not employ individuals who are unqualified to watch your media.

You may have noticed that the electorate now lives online in this era of online media—your own potential voters! Where are they getting their political message from? If it’s in your favour, are you certain?

Since internet media has become so crucial, it is not advisable to quickly enter and leave.

Who is keeping watch of the media for you? Are they qualified?

Online media has significantly altered how individuals consume political messages. These advances have also resulted in certain unfavourable occurrences, such as a significant rise in material that is unreliable, context-free, and biased against you and your political party.

For instance, a number of studies have shown P+ Measurement Services that your critics are using newly forming social and tribal divisions to preach to your adherents. What will you do next, then? If your party is sincerely committed to winning the 2023 elections, we advise you to use media monitoring services to provide you with accurate information.

PPlus’ approach is straightforward. To manage the perceptions that shape your reality across the media, they engage in 24/7 media fact-checking, media monitoring, and traction using international standard listening and intelligence tools/metrics; they then report back to you with the crucial findings/feedback and hand you the precise places you need to influence.

Queen Nwabueze is a Media and Content Strategist based in Lagos

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Nigerians are Multidimensionally Happy…

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By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

How do you show you’re happy?

If you’re a cat, you purr. If you’re a dog, you wag your tail, and if you’re a rabbit, you bust out your best binky moves. You read that right — binky. When rabbits are happy, they do this crazy kind of move called a binky. Each bunny has its own binky style, but it’s a kind of jumping, mid-air twist with a kick and a little hop or two on the landing. Some bunnies’ binkies can reach almost three feet in the air!

If you watch a bunny binky, you can’t help but be happy too.

So, back to that first question: How do you show your happiness? Sure, there are tough days, but there are also wonderful days when everything seems to go your way. You wake up to your favourite breakfast, ace the test, and find an extra naira in your pocket.

There are days when God blesses you with a chance to help a friend or the opportunity to learn something new about Him. And there are so-so days that are still amazing because you get to share them with Him.

So, how do you let the world know life is good? Smile, sing, whistle, or dance — whatever says “happy” to you.

Just be sure to thank the One who gave you all those reasons to be happy.

So, how do Nigerians show they are happy? A nation that the latest Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report on Nigeria, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) this November, shows the country has a higher incidence of poor people but less intensity of deprivation, even though the report measured more indicators of poverty than in the past.

How do people considering 15 indicators, instead of the 10 indicators in the past 2 surveys, with at least 133 million, 63% of the country’s population, suffering from multidimensional poverty see happiness?

Furthermore, the 2022 MPI noted that the extent of the deprivations that these 113 million poor people suffer is an average of 40.9%. With these kinds of statistics, what’s there to be happy about?

Nigerians are happy, we are still high up there in the index of happy people, and I add very happy people. People were kidnapped, robbed, and flooded, week in, week out. And yet thanksgiving services with dances of all types and executions follow suit. We are happy jare…forget all that multidimensional English!

We remain a proud people, joyous in nature, never put down by ‘little’ setbacks like stealing leaders. Visit a state where workers were owed seven months’ salaries on a Saturday, you see women and girls adorned in expensive glittering ‘aso-ebis’. Thousands were spent on event planners/transport/comperes and more.

We are happy people, we love to party and forget that ‘MPI’ thing, and we have continued in our happy nature unabated. We are happy that Ghana lost her match to Portugal because they denied us that spot to be at the Mundial.

We attend ‘suna’ (naming ceremonies) and’ igba nkwo’ (traditional weddings), and ‘oku’ (funeral parties) of the same leaders we accuse of looting us dry. It gives us loads of joy and happiness, you get free food and booze and a fight if you are at the right party.

We are happy people, the only people who, after being used, abused, disused, and misused, are tortured with the flamboyance and ostentatious living, and all we do is admire them and cling to hope—after all, ‘my turn will soon come’.

Happy people: very few countries can live the way we do, weeks without light because the power transformer is bad, yet you pay bills. Fuel stations have no commodity, yet opposite those stations, young men sell the same fuel at hyper-black prices for a product we are blessed in quantum with.

We are sad people when the thief who is looting is from the other side, but when it’s from our town, we use the phrase “he is helping our people”. And because stealing is everywhere, we all are happy.

‘Multidimensional my foot, tell that to the birds–we bribe the police and accuse them of taking bribes. We don’t really pay electricity tariffs, yet we say ‘there’s no light’, when actually it’s a case of Aso Rock owing PHCN, PHCN owes gas company, that one owes staff, the staff is in debt of school fees, rent and utility. We are happy people!

Maybe if the report had said we multidimensionally grumble, no arguments. Maybe we complain most, that’s true, yes maybe we are amongst nations with the most problems. But how do you know Nigerians are happy…

People who pay in recruitment scams in the police, immigration, army, civil service etc, are happy people.

A nation that has bribes for admission scams or money for marks in school scams. Rent without house agent frauds. Pension fraud, electoral fraud, where girls date six guys simultaneously and men date five women, including their secretary, wife’s best friend and driver’s wife and nothing happens…cannot be multidimensionally poor.

How many suicides can be traced to spirited men that were tired of the system and called it quits–the fact is we kill to be happy because, in Nigeria, happiness is it. We steal to be happy because that’s the real deal. We want to be happy not because we are sad but because we want a status quo.

We want change but don’t want to change and are weary of change; a Nigerian adage says an erect penis has no conscience. Nigerians are not multidimensionally poor; when an accountant general would steal enough money to pay all the nation’s university teachers’ salaries, there is no real arrest, no outrage. We are happy, if we really are poor, it is not because we are poor, it is because we are multidimensionally happy and not pained enough to do things differently.

How do you know a Nigerian is happy; he runs kitikata on the same spot and blames everyone but himself, so, as long as the thief is from his hood, he is happy, as long as his neighbour also does not have electricity, as long as his enemies, real or imaginary are suffering some fate he is exempted from, as long as he is winning a football game he was ill-prepared for, as long as he gets a job he least deserves and more; he is happy, when will that change—only time will tell.

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