Booming Africa

November 20, 2012 • Volume 6, Issue 22
Is an East Asia-style boom under way?
By Jason McLure


Construction cranes punctuate the skyline (AFP/Getty Images/Stephane de Sakutin)
Construction cranes punctuate the skyline of Luanda, Angola's capital, where a building boom is being financed in part by high world prices for the country's oil exports. As in other oil-exporting African countries, a flood of petro-dollars has fueled Angola's robust growth — more than 14 percent annually in recent years — despite a sluggish global economy. (AFP/Getty Images/Stephane de Sakutin)

Once considered hopeless, much of sub-Saharan Africa is booming. Seven of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies currently are in Africa. High prices for the continent's oil and mineral exports have brought a surge of government revenue and investment, but the growth is occurring in commodity-poor countries as well. Better governance, less war and the rapid spread of cell phones and other communication technologies are fostering growth even in nations with few natural resources. Debt forgiveness and the rise of China, India and other emerging markets as trading partners and sources of investment also have spurred economies forward. Demographers say that with the continent's working-age population projected to expand by a third by 2020, Africa could benefit from a “demographic dividend” that would fuel sustained economic growth, even as populations in developed countries and Asia are growing older. Yet, the population boom also poses challenges: Africa's economies must provide enough jobs for the growing number of workers with expectations of a better life.

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
International Economic Development