This policy paper discusses why economic growth will not solve Africa's demographic challenges on its own.
Africa lags behind the rest of the world in the vast majority of development indicators. The continent urgently needs more of its own ideas, its own research and its own companies for social and economic development. Socio-economic development around the world has largely resulted from progress in three key areas requiring particular attention: health, education and agriculture. The study presents examples of how governments, NGOs, social enterprises and companies in Africa are already engaging with initiatives to tackle poverty, create jobs and counteract high population growth. “Leapfrogging” describes innovations that improve people's lives while skipping inefficient, costly and environmentally-harmful transitional stages of development. Examples include health facilities providing basic medical care in remote areas, online learning programmes which have become even more important since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and cheap micro-insurance covering smallholder farmers in case of weather-induced crop failures.
The Berlin Institute would like to thank the Bayer AG for financial support. Research was carried out at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
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