About 500 years ago, Africa was booming. Indeed, as reported by the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper, the first European explorers to reach Africa circa 1500 were stunned and amazed by its wealth — both financially and culturally.
Why does this matter? Because Africa —the continent that was allegedly described by a certain world leader as being (to put it very mildly) home to sub-par countries with sub-par people — is on the rise again, and the world is taking notice. Except this time, instead of showcasing gold, silver, pearls, silk and amber, the spotlight is shining on Africa’s vision and leadership in the world of information technology.
Here are four key reasons why the future of IT across the world will be significantly — and perhaps even predominantly — led and shaped by Africa:
While many countries are in population decline as families get smaller and many adults choose to forgo parenthood, the opposite is happening in Africa: the population numbers are booming. In the century ahead, this will position Africa to have a very favorable and enviable “dependency ratio” (the number of working people compared to the number of children and elderly who depend on their labor and income).
The bulk of the world’s fastest-growing economies aren’t in Asia or South America — they’re in Africa, with countries like Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, West Congo, Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria enjoying substantial year-over-year GDP and GNP growth. Naturally, this surge is also increasing the ranks of an all-important middle class that will crave and consume technology: everything from IoT appliances to self-driving cars, and the list of technology-led solutions goes on.
As reported by the United Nations, a big driver of Africa’s technological growth is fueled by unprecedented innovation — especially when it comes to mobile technology. More than 80 percent of Africans own at least one smartphone, and the continent continues to be the fastest-growing mobile phone market in the world; outranking digital heavyweights like the U.S. and India.
Technology and R&D need two things: great ideas and plenty of money. A growing roster of highly educated and entrepreneurial-minded Africans are supplying the former, and tech investors from within and beyond the continent are supplying the latter. Granted, foreign investment levels aren’t (yet) at those enjoyed by other markets, such as parts of South America or Southeast Asia. However, the numbers are rising each year, as more tech investors look to tap into Africa’s enormous potential. It’s as if the continent has unfurled giant banner signs that say: INVEST HERE!
The Bottom Line
Africa’s history is a complex and unique story; one tends to be poorly understood in other parts of the world. Still, the fact remains: Africa’s rise is real, and the future of IT across the continent is brighter than ever.
The topic of Africa’s economics has long plagued commentators. The continent is just so fractured, so politically unstable, so corrupt, so hit by challenges and so fluid that making any prediction on its growth is a tough one to make. Almost eight years ago, the African economy was referenced as being like “lions on the prowl” and, despite the North slowing up, these prediction has actually been correct. The annual growth has continued to grow, with the last five-year stretch growing by 4.1%.
The big question is, where does future success lie? Well, according to both political and economic commentators, there are three long-term trends that hold the most positivity when it comes to Africa’s growth thriving and not just surviving.
The Young Labor Force
Africa has one of the youngest and largest labour forces in the world, and that is a huge asset in this day and age. But it is the future that sings the loudest song because, by 2035, this working population is predicted to be over a billion, making it the biggest in the world. The problem is creating jobs at the same rate, although there has been some serious progress made on this front with 53 million new, stable and paying jobs being created in the last fifteen years alone, growing at a rate of almost 4% in that time; a rate higher than the labour force grew. It is still a long way off the need, but it is narrowing the gap.
Urbanisation is Still Happening
This means that the major benefits of Africa’s combined effort are still to come to fruition. The urban expansion is the secret to Africa’s increased productivity and that is still growing, and growing fast. By 2027, an additional 185 million people will have moved to urban areas, which will boost productivity, growth and consumption. This has also triggered a rise in African development institutions that are keen to boost this growth and fill the gap, and they are doing so by investing modest amounts in high-tech power generation services, power supplies,roads and railways, infrastructure and mining. This, coupled with the current rate of consumption makes for a promising future – Africa’s consumers will spend more than $2 trillion dollars by 2024. As such, the emphasis has shifted from the consumer to companies needing to use detailed market intelligence to learn where the most promising markets are.
Technology Always Has An Answer
The two points above are promising on their own, but they are also promising in terms of how they position the economy, making Africa ready to benefit from the advancements in technology. This is a change that could possibly unlock a huge amount of additional growth, and maybe even see this continent overtake the limitations currently in place due to the cost of physical infrastructure. Smartphones are the obvious example on this front with this market set to burst through the 50% marker in the next two and a bit years. It isn’t just cell phones that will boost growth, though; it is everything that comes with this increased connectivity. From healthcare to power, everything will get the boost needed.
It won’t be plain-sailing, but it will be progress.
A hot, crispy dosa was served on the banana leaf with oozed goodness— the kind of goodness that you want if you’ve navigated five hours of road journey which is full of potholes. However, it was only a few minutes into ordering that first dosa and seconds into dipping dosa into sambar when someone interrupted me. “Yes?”, I asked. “I ‘am sorry but are you alone?” one of them asked.
I nodded politely and turned to my dosa. “So, we will leave you with your meal”, they ventured. “See you around”, I replied with a smile. I successfully convinced the two men that I am more interested in enjoying the dosa made by Shiharan Bhayia than talking to them. They might be shocked to see a solo woman traveller.
You see, solo travelling is one of the most romantic chapters which you can add to your travel diary. Here’s a woman travelling alone, here’s a woman who is so liberating and here is a woman who agrees to fight her demons. All true and incredibly powerful.
It was my first solo trip to Bangalore and what I discovered—there is so much to do in Bangalore, even if you are travelling alone.
Having undergone a vast change over the past few years, Bangalore or Bengaluru is not merely the country’s IT hub. From local and international eateries serving lip smacking food, heritage spots showcasing the bright history of the city to swanky malls and nightclubs which are fun to explore, Bangalore as the city never disappoints travellers who come to soak in its charm. Then there is all-the-year pleasant weather of Bangalore, which augments its beauty. Above all, Bangalore is well-connected with nearby states and cities, like Goa, Mysore, Ooty, Chennai, etc.
So, why should you wait for someone to join you if you want to roam around the city? Let’s tell yourself— I am off to see the hills, mountains and beaches and that too solo!”
No matters how much I enjoy solo travelling, I take care of several factors to experience a hassle-free journey. From keeping your confidence high during the journey to travelling light, there are several tips to make your solo vacation to Bangalore fun and pleasing. Let’s talk about them=
Be Confident= Even when you’re lost or in trouble, don’t bring it on your face. Be assertive and attentive at all times, no matter how painful the situation is. When you successfully deal with all adversities, believe me, you will be ready to face the worse situations in your life. Just remember, though the road has a few more hiccups than usual, everything will be fine at the end.
Safety Comes First= Your safety is in your hands, so be vigilant while travelling. Make sure to carry basic things like a map, guide book, water bottle, first aid box, etc.
Travel Light= Instead of burdening yourself with unnecessary luggage, pack, and travel light. Go for a backpacker and bon voyage. Hotels near majestic Bangalore are well-equipped with amenities and therefore, except basic toiletries and medications, you can leave everything at home and utilise laundry service available at hotels.
Do Prior Research=Before taking a final plunge, gather all the information about your destination as much as you can. It will also help you in planning your travel itinerary and give a quick review of cultural background which will be like an added convenience.
Choose a well-connected Hotel = Dig out the information about the hotels in Bangalore situated near to railway stations, bus terminals, etc. In this way, you will not have to waste time in commuting and you will have enough time for exploring the place. For finding good hotels in Bangalore, you can take the help of online travel portals like MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, Yatra, etc. Prices, especially airfares and hotel tariffs are much cheaper on online travel portals, like Yatra, as compared to what you can find offline.
Travel during the day= It is obvious—travelling during day is safe as compared to evening and night when most of the assault and harassment cases tend to happen. Even if you are required to travel at night, choose a safe mode of transpiration.
Keep your family members updated= Though you are travelling alone, it doesn’t mean you should sever all ties with your family. While travelling, keep your family members updated about your whereabouts through calls or texts. In short, leave a trail.
Embrace the beauty of your solo journey
Don’t be afraid, the world is inherently a good place. Go far, travel solo, and you will meet a new you—An independent, carefree, and yes, a confident girl!
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has presented evidence he claims shows that a homeless man reached for an officer’s gun before being shot dead.
Charlie Beck also said two officers were wearing body cameras, but he has declined to release the footage.
He did not release any details about the man – known as Africa – who was shot by three officers just after 12:00 local time on March 1.
Protests about police actions have been held across the US in recent months.
They were sparked by a number of instances where police shot dead black men after a confrontation.
In the latest incident in Los Angeles, a footage released on social media shows a violent struggle between the homeless man and several officers in the city’s Skid Row area.
Chief Charlie Beck said the man engaged them in what he called a “brutal, brutal fight”.
Officers are said to have used a Tazer in an attempt to subdue him but the struggle continued.
Flanked by a poster featuring several blown-up images related to the case, Chief Charlie Beck reiterated claims that the homeless man had attempted to grab an officer’s weapon.
Video showed the man reaching toward the officer’s waistband, he said, and the way that officer’s gun was later found partly cocked and jammed suggested a struggle for the weapon had occurred.
“You can hear the young officer who was primarily engaged in the confrontation saying that <<He has my gun. He has my gun>>,” said Charlie Beck.
Footage from the two body cameras being worn by police officers would not be released imminently, he said, but would be submitted as evidence if a criminal or civil case is brought against the officers.
Charlie Beck said all the officers had been specifically trained in dealing with people living in Skid Row and initially dealt with the man “with compassion.” At least one of the officers was African American.
The incident comes as police departments around the country face intense scrutiny for their tactics. Last year, highly publicized killings of black men sparked weeks of protests in the US.
Hours after the latest shooting, the hashtag #LAPDShooting was trending on Twitter in the US.
Video of the incident – posted on Facebook and played widely by media – begins with what appears to be a black man swinging punches at police officers, and more officers soon arrive.
A voice can be heard shouting “Drop the gun!” four times before five shots ring out.
Two officers were injured in the incident. Both have been released from hospital, and one is currently using crutches.
Some of the officers involved in the shooting have been placed on leave, according to a police spokeswoman, but she declined to say how many, or release their names.
Angelina Jolie will direct Africa, a film about celebrated conservationist Richard Leakey’s battles with ivory poachers.
The screenplay has been written by Eric Roth – who won an Oscar for Forrest Gump.
Richard Leakey is former head of the Kenya Wildlife Service and was key to stemming the trade in illegal ivory.
Angelina Jolie said: “I’ve felt a deep connection to Africa and its culture for much of my life.”
Angelina Jolie will direct Africa, a film about celebrated conservationist Richard Leakey’s battles with ivory poachers (photo Reuters)
Richard Leakey’s extreme measures to tackle poachers, including sending helicopter gunships into the national park, have helped Kenya’s elephant and rhino populations recover from the brink of disaster.
He made international headlines in 1989, when a stockpile of 12 tonnes of ivory was burned in Nairobi National Park.
Angelina Jolie said Africa is about “a man drawn into the violent conflict with elephant poachers, who emerged with a deeper understanding of man’s footprint and a profound sense of responsibility for the world around him”.
Producer David Ellison – whose company Skydance co-produced films including True Grit and Jack Reacher – called Richard Leakey “inspirational,” adding: “Africa is a story that deserves to be told.”
Angelina Jolie’s next movie, Unbroken, is due in cinemas later this year.
Angelina Jolie is currently directing and starring opposite her husband Brad Pitt in the film By The Sea, based on her own screenplay.
Sultani Makenga – the commander of the M23 rebel group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo – has surrendered in Uganda, new reports claim.
Sultani Makenga is said to have handed himself over along with hundreds of M23 fighters in the Mgahinga National Park.
Neither government has so far confirmed the reports.
Earlier this week the M23 said it was ending its 19-month insurgency, hours after DR Congo government forces claimed military victory.
Reports say Sultani Makenga and about 1,700 fighters have been disarmed and are being held by the Ugandan military in Mgahinga, near the Congo border.
Earlier this week, Congolese officials said Col. Sultani Makenga had fled across the border to either Uganda or Rwanda.
Sultani Makenga is said to have handed himself over along with hundreds of M23 fighters in the Mgahinga National Park
Uganda has been hosting peace talks between the rebels and the DR Congo government. However, no peace accord has been signed.
Sultani Makenga is the subject of UN sanctions and it is unclear what Ugandan officials would do with him.
The M23 has wrought havoc across eastern DR Congo since it began its insurgency in April 2012.
Its fighters are mostly from the Tutsi ethnic group, a minority in eastern DR Congo but with ties to Rwanda’s leaders.
Their name refers to a 23 March 2009 peace deal which a former militia group – the CNDP – signed with the Congolese government. The rebels said the government had not lived up to its promises in the deal.
Analysts say the surrender of Sultani Makenga , if confirmed, will be a major success for the Congolese army which has been struggling to restore calm in eastern DR Congo for two decades.
Earlier this year the UN approved a new mission of 3,000 African soldiers with a mandate to fight the rebels.
They have the operational support of the existing UN Mission in DR Congo (Monusco) and have used helicopters to target the rebels, allowing the army to advance.
The bodies of 87 people who died of thirst after their vehicles broke down as they tried to cross the Sahara have been found by rescue workers in Niger.
Rescue worker Almoustapha Alhacen said the corpses were in a severe state of decomposition and had been partly eaten, probably by jackals.
Those found are thought to be migrant workers and their families. Most were women and children.
Niger lies on a major migrant route between sub-Saharan Africa and Europe.
But among those who make it across the desert, many end up working in North African countries.
According to Almoustapha Alhacen, one of the vehicles that the migrants were travelling in broke down some time after they left Arlit at the end of September or beginning of October.
About 80,000 migrants cross the Sahara desert through Niger
It appears that some of the group set out on foot, including up to 10 people who made it back to Arlit and raised the alarm, he said.
It was reported on Monday that five bodies had been found.
On Wednesday, volunteers and soldiers working in searing heat found other corpses about 6 miles from the Algerian border.
Speaking from Arlit, a centre for uranium mining north of Agadez, Almoustapha Alhacen said he had experienced the worst day of his life when he found the bodies.
They were given Muslim burials where they were found, he said.
Given that at least 48 of those found were children or teenagers, Almoustapha Alhacen said it was possible they were on their way to low-paid jobs in neighboring Algeria.
It is not clear which countries the migrants came from.
“There were no clues. My guess is that the children were madrassa [Islamic school] children, being taken to Algeria to work. That is the only explanation that I and others can find for such a large number of children having travelled together,” Almoustapha Alhacen said.
About 80,000 migrants cross the Sahara desert through Niger, according to John Ging, director of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
A deferral of The Hague trial of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta – due to start in November – has been demanded at the African Union summit in Ethiopia.
The AU also agreed a resolution stating no sitting African head of state should appear before an international court.
With both Kenyan and Sudanese presidents facing ICC cases, African leaders have long complained that the court unfairly targets them.
The AU had discussed withdrawing from the ICC, but failed to get support.
Senior figures including Kofi Annan have criticized plans to quit the ICC.
The AU leaders, meeting in Addis Ababa, agreed to back immunity for any sitting African head of state.
They also asked Kenya to write to the UN Security Council seeking a deferral in the International Criminal Court (ICC) case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who faces charges of crimes against humanity.
Both he and his deputy, William Ruto, deny charges of organizing violence after the 2007 election.
While William Ruto went on trial in September, President Kenyatta has repeatedly requested his trial – due next month – be postponed.
African states want the ICC to withdraw the case against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
Addressing the summit, Uhuru Kenyatta accused the court of bias and “race-hunting”, AFP reports.
“The ICC has been reduced into a painfully farcical pantomime, a travesty that adds insult to the injury of victims. It stopped being the home of justice the day it became the toy of declining imperial powers.”
Ethiopian PM and AU chairman Hailemariam Dessalegn said the summit was not a crusade against the ICC but a call for the court to address Africa’s concerns seriously.
He said the ICC’s cases against the Sudanese and Kenyan presidents could hamper peace and reconciliation efforts in their countries.
“The unfair treatment that we have been subjected to by the ICC is completely unacceptable,” he said.
The ICC issued a warrant in 2009 for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir over alleged war crimes in the Darfur region, but he has not yet been arrested.
The ICC relies on the authorities of national governments to hand over suspects, but Mr Bashir has avoided arrest despite travelling to countries that have signed up to the ICC statute.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is the current chairman of the AU’s Executive Council, said the ICC had failed to respond to the African Union’s previous complaints.
“What the summit decided is that President Kenyatta should not appear until the request we have made is actually answered,” he said.
Thirty-four of the AU’s 54 members have signed up to the ICC.
Kenya’s parliament has already passed a motion for the country to withdraw.
Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that withdrawing from the court would be a “badge of shame”.
Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has also voiced his support for the ICC.
“Those leaders seeking to skirt the court are effectively looking for a license to kill, maim and oppress their own people without consequence,” he wrote in an article carried by several newspapers.
“They simply vilify the institution as racist and unjust, as Hermann Goering and his fellow Nazi defendants vilified the Nuremberg tribunals following World War II.”
All eight of the cases currently open at the ICC are in Africa but it is also investigating possible cases elsewhere.
Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan has called for “rationality and wisdom” after being freed from the custody of militiamen.
Ali Zeidan was abducted from a Tripoli hotel and held for several hours by armed men whose identity has yet to be confirmed.
In a cabinet meeting, PM Ali Zeidan thanked “real revolutionaries” who took part in a security operation to free him.
The motive of the abduction is unclear but some militias had been angered by a US commando raid to capture senior al-Qaeda suspect Anas al-Liby.
Many militia groups saw the raid in Tripoli on Saturday as a breach of Libyan sovereignty and there is growing pressure on the government to explain if it was involved.
One group, the Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room (LROR), said it had captured Ali Zeidan, claiming it was acting on orders from the prosecutor general. But the justice ministry denied this.
The LROR said its actions had not been related to Anas al-Liby’s detention.
The official Lana news agency also named another formal rebel group, the Brigade for the Fight against Crime, as being involved.
Ali Zeidan has called for “rationality and wisdom” after being freed from the custody of militiamen
Two years after the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, Libya still has no constitution and divisions between secular and Islamist forces have paralyzed parliament.
The government has been struggling to contain the numerous militias who control many parts of the country.
Ali Zeidan’s cabinet meeting following his release was shown live on Libya’s al-Ahrar television.
He thanked those who had helped free him but gave no details about them or the abductors.
He said: “I salute the revolutionaries who had an important role. The real revolutionaries, those who rose above greedy demands, I salute them for what they did in this affair.”
Ali Zeidan urged them to “assimilate into the state, and play an active role in it through its civilian and military institutions”.
He added: “Only with an army and the police can a state exist.”
The prime minister said of his capture: “These are accidental things from the revolution’s overflow and they will disappear.”
Ali Zeidan also said Libya would “regain its health” and be “an active, positive nation”.
He assured foreigners the incident had happened “within the context of Libyan political wrangles”.
Ali Zeidan ended by calling for “caution and rationality in handling this matter”.
He had been taken in a pre-dawn raid on the Corinthia Hotel by more than 100 armed men.
Photographs circulating online showed Ali Zeidan being surrounded and led away. There were no reports of violence during his capture.
The prime minister was reportedly held at the interior ministry anti-crime department in Tripoli, where an official said he was treated well.
In a news conference shortly before the release was announced, the government condemned the “criminal act” of his detention and said it would not give in to “blackmail”.
The LROR is one of a number of militias operating in Libya which are nominally attached to government ministries but often act independently and, correspondents say, often have the upper hand over police and army forces.