Africa in Transition

February 23, 2018 • Volume 28, Issue 8
Can the sub-Saharan region overcome its challenges?
By Sean Lyngaas


A portrait of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (Cover: AFP/Getty Images/Jekesai Njikizana)
A portrait of former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is taken down in Harare, the capital, after his forced resignation last November. Like Mugabe, who reigned for nearly four decades, several other autocratic African leaders have suppressed human rights while professing democratic ideals. (Cover: AFP/Getty Images/Jekesai Njikizana)

Strong economic growth, driven by resource-rich Angola, Nigeria and South Africa, has helped sub-Saharan Africa shed its image as a war-torn region plagued by famine, disease and political volatility. In recent years, amid a surge in Chinese investment, a new “Africa Rising” narrative portrayed the region's 46 countries as making impressive economic progress, with a growing middle class and rising democratic aspirations. That narrative became less persuasive, however, after world commodity prices began to fall in 2014. In addition, some autocrats, while professing democratic ideals, have been suppressing human rights and clinging to power. Like the rest of the world, African countries face the long-term consequences of climate change, which could erode economic progress and the quality of life on the continent. And automated manufacturing technologies such as robotics pose a challenge to the labor force. Analysts say the next several years will pose a crucial test: Can African economies innovate quickly enough to deal with increasing urbanization, rapid population growth and a big gap between the rich and the poor?

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jul. 15, 2022  Africa in Transition
Oct. 22, 2021  ISIS in Africa
Feb. 23, 2018  Africa in Transition
Jul. 10, 2015  Terrorism in Africa
Nov. 20, 2012  Booming Africa
Apr. 05, 2011  Conflict in Congo
Aug. 2009  Attacking Piracy
Jun. 2009  The Troubled Horn of Africa
Sep. 2008  Crisis in Darfur
Jan. 2008  China in Africa
Sep. 09, 2005  Ending Poverty
Aug. 27, 2004  Stopping Genocide
Aug. 29, 2003  Aiding Africa
Nov. 08, 2002  Famine in Africa
Mar. 24, 1995  Democracy in Africa
Jan. 14, 1994  South Africa's Future
Mar. 23, 1990  U.S. Role in South Africa's Future
Nov. 07, 1986  Economic Turnabout In Africa
Jan. 17, 1986  Angola and the Reagan Doctrine
Sep. 09, 1983  South Africa's ‘Total Strategy’
Jul. 14, 1978  African Policy Reversal
Sep. 03, 1976  Africa and the Big Powers
Apr. 04, 1975  Southern Africa in Transition
Dec. 06, 1974  Ethiopia in Turmoil
May 09, 1973  African Nation Building
Feb. 28, 1968  Nigeria at War
Nov. 02, 1966  White Outposts in Southern Africa
Feb. 03, 1965  Congo Dilemma
Aug. 12, 1964  Red Rivalry in Africa
May 22, 1963  Political Turmoil in Southern Africa
Nov. 02, 1960  Tribalism and Nationalism in Africa
Sep. 28, 1960  Education for Africans
Apr. 10, 1959  Power Struggles in Colonial Africa
Aug. 20, 1958  Algerian Conflicts
Apr. 09, 1958  White Supremacy in South Africa
Sep. 11, 1957  Future of Algeria
Apr. 03, 1957  Political Awakening of Black Africa
Sep. 17, 1952  Africa and the West
Feb. 20, 1952  Nationalism in North Africa
Dec. 04, 1942  War Resources in Africa
May 29, 1935  Pre-War and Post-War Imperialism in Africa
Agriculture and the Environment
Civil Wars
Conflicts in Africa
Economic Crises
Economic Development
Exports and Imports
Farm Produce and Commodities
Freedom of Speech and Press
General Employment and Labor
Global Issues
Humanitarian Assistance
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
International Economic Development
International Finance
Land Resources and Property Rights
Manufacturing and Industrial Production
Oil and Natural Gas
Regional Planning and Urbanization
Regional Political Affairs: Africa
United Nations
War and Conflict