Newsire : Africa’s ‘youth boom’ – could it change the World

crowded African street

Oct. 30, 2023 (GIN) – “By 2050, one in four people on the planet will be African… Early tremors of this seismic change are already registering around the world…. The world is becoming more African.”
So opens an in-depth look at our changing world by Irish author and journalist Declan Walsh. His research fills a special section of 40 pages that appeared in a recent edition of the New York Times.
The text is framed by the stunning work of Hannah Reyes Morales, a freelance photographer who spent five weeks this year traveling in Africa for the project.
From its opening double-page shot of the Center for Girls Education in Zaria, Nigeria, a program for married adolescents and mothers to the closing shot of fishers in Praia Nova, Mozambique, showing the impacts of climate change battering African countries, the pictures tell a thousand words.
Africa the Cultural Powerhouse
Here, the author profiles Nigerian star Burna Boy, who became the first African artist to sell out an American stadium after filling an 80,000 capacity venue in London where he sang his new single, “Sittin’ on Top of the World.”
“It’s a great time to be alive,” Laolu Senbanjo, a Nigerian artist living in Brooklyn was quoted to say. “Whether I’m in Target or an Uber, I hear the Afrobeats. It’s like a bridge. The world has come together.”
This year Gamma, a music company owned in part by Apple, set up an office in Lagos. “We’re going straight to the source,” Sipho Dlamini, a Gamma executive was heard to say.
Once the target of bullies, “African” today  is a badge of pride, Sebanjo says. Images of kids starving and swollen bellies are giving way to new images driving tourists who are dying to come to Cape Town, to Mombasa, to Zanzibar, he notes, adding “It’s cool to be African!”
Foreign companies are mentioned here as “eager allies, including Russia, China, the United States, Turkey and Gulf petrostates” as African leaders spurn the image of victim and demand a bigger say.
Once the big idea for enabling Africa to leapfrog its way out of poverty, technology is now sharing the stage with start-ups sprouting in Nigeria, South Africa and Morocco. Akinwumi Adesina, head of the African Development Bank, observes: “On top of the $96 billion in remittances from African migrants, three times more than the sum of all foreign aid, the African diaspora has become the largest financer of Africa!”
“It feels like the opportunities are unlimited for us right now,” says Jean-Patrick Niambe, a 24 year old hip-hop artist from Ivory Coast.
The author does not overlook Africa’s weaknesses. “It’s a young continent run by old men,” he says. “Under their grip, democracy has fallen to its lowest point in decades. Half of all Africans live in countries considered ‘not free’ by Freedom House.”
While polls say young Africans admire and desire democracy, disillusionment with rubber stamp elections that camouflage authoritarianism is turning many toward more radical options.
“Old World, Young Africa” is balanced, insightful reporting,” writes Unicef Africa, “that presents huge choices for African decision makers in coming years… But will this ‘youthquake be a blessing or a burden?”

Newswire : African critics see dark side to China’s ‘charitable’ development loans

China’s President Xi Jinping with Uganda’s President Paul. Kagame

2Sept. 10, 2018 (GIN) – There are two sides to every coin and two widely opposing views on China’s offer of generous loans and grants to African countries announced at the recent Forum on China-Africa Cooperation forum in Beijing. At the confab, with representatives from 53 of 54 African countries, sky-high numbers were bandied about. Chinese President Xi Jinping announced $60 billion in funds for eight initiatives over the next three years, in areas ranging from industrial promotion, infrastructure construction and scholarships for young Africans. Such a financial package has many high-profile defenders on the continent, including the head of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina. “A lot of people get nervous about China but I am not. I think China is Africa’s friend,” he told the BBC. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa dismissed the view of a “new colonialism taking hold in Africa while Rwandan President Paul Kagame called talk of “debt traps” as attempts to discourage African-Chinese interactions. But several African economists, media pundits and civil society see red flags ahead. “The time has come for African leaders to critically interrogate their relationship with China,” an editorial in Kenya’s Daily Nation said Monday. “What are the benefits in this relationship? Is China unfairly exploiting Africa like the others before it?” “This debt acquired from China comes with huge business opportunities for Chinese companies, particularly construction companies that have turned the whole of Africa into a construction site for rails, roads, electricity dams, stadia, commercial buildings and so on,” said Kampala-based economist Ramathan Ggoobi, speaking to the BBC. In Uganda, a 21 year mining concession to the Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Company produced only 92 job slots so far and the threat of displacement of 12,000 residents from 14 villages. This week in Zambia, the government was forced to refute published reports of the possible Chinese takeover of Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and the power utility ZESCO for unpaid debts. It is increasingly common in countries like Angola, Mozambique or Ghana, which benefit from Chinese loans for infrastructure, to see Chinese trucks and workers who would otherwise be unemployed in China now working in Africa on Chinese projects. “If African countries are not careful, the debt they have to China is going to be the equivalent or even more than the debt that they have to industrialized countries and to the World Bank,” said William Gumede, University of the Witwatersrand professor and chair of the Democracy Works Foundation in South Africa. The next Summit will be organized by Senegal in 2021.