Africa in 2100: ECONOMIC POWERHOUSE or SHITHOLE?

Africa is projected to have 4.5 billion people by 2100, with countries like Nigeria expected to have 752 million people (more than the population of Europe today) and countries like the Democratic People's Republic of the Congo are expected to have 389 million people by that time. In 2100, the world's largest cities are projected to be

Population (2100) City Country

1 88.3 million Lagos Nigeria

2 83.5 million Kinshasa DRC

3 73.7 million Dar Es Salaam Tanzania

4 67.2 million Mumbai India

5 57.3 million Delhi India

6 56.6 million Khartoum Sudan

7 56.1 million Niamey Niger

8 54.3 million Dhaka Bangladesh

9 52.4 million Kolkata India

10 50.3 million Kabul Afghanistan

How do dirt poor countries like the DRC build the necessary infrastructure to have a functioning megacity and not have terrible air pollution? In Mumbai or Lagos right now, traffic and pollution is already terrible, how can these cities deal with an influx of new people? Will these giant megacities end up as ECONOMIC POWERHOUSES or SHITHOLES?

Comments (39)

Nov 1, 2019

It may curve in population, birth rates are already going down in several of those countries.

If these countries get more modernized and introduced to advanced contraception while breaking away from the tradition of having 6 kids, it will curve. (I heard Bill Gates was delivering condoms to them with drones)

If not, I guess learn French and English instead of Chinese for future language.

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Funniest
Nov 1, 2019

bae: "did you bring protection?"

me: "baby slow down my drone will be here in 10min"

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Nov 4, 2019

but how ?

Nov 1, 2019

Need to fix their electricity network first. South Africa is the first gateway into the continent, and even their grid is a mess. Around 70% of all Africans have no access to electricity.

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Nov 4, 2019

First we'll have to tell them they can't industrialize because of climate change

Nov 2, 2019

Dead aid book chief

Nov 2, 2019

It can be done. It depends on a mixture of properly using investments, increasing desire/emphasis for political stability and increased urbanisation. You have to consider that progress is also relative to your neighbours. Even in Europe countries like Spain, Portugal or Italy have infrastructure issues compared to Scandinavia or BeNeLux. Countries like the DRC will certainly have a lot more work to do than say South Africa or Egypt but they can get there. Health also plays a large role in this. If communicable disease are still a big issues and kill of a large portion of your workforce halfway or 2/3 of the way into their liveable years then that hinders progress. As sanitation improves, cultural changes happen and political regimes become less totalitarian improvements will come. South America was pretty fucked in the 1900s and now they are doing MUCH better, Europe was also doing so so in the 1800s. It all takes time. Asian is a perfect case study; sure countries like Myanmar or Laos are still behind but others like Korea, Japan and Thailand have made significant improvement. It's a matter of time. I think by 2100 it will be well on it's way to serious improvements but may need until 2200 to really hit that excellence mark.

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Nov 2, 2019

But nothing is changing in those countries. I remember reading an article from a guy who visited Sierra Leone in the 1970s and said it had gotten WORSE in the past 50 years. The economies are stagnant and hooked on foreign aid, and the governments are systemically corrupt. With a growing population, these problems could be amplified. This is what worries Bill Gates.

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Nov 3, 2019

Saying Sierra Leone is getting worse is like saying we haven't seen improvements in Bosnia in Europe. Sanitation is improving, more countries are pushing for stable government, life expectancy is increasing and infrastructure projects are on the rise (such as the new smart city of Cairo). Things have significantly improved for quite a few of those countries and there is also increased organisation around tourism which can become a stable source of income that helps diversify from natural resources. I wouldn't say things have stayed the same or have gotten worse for the whole continent.

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Nov 6, 2019

This is the problem with international aid and development. Giving money to governments without teaching them how to collect taxes and generate revenue organically pretty much guarantees that the governments will always depend on external aid to offset tax revenues they do not collect. When cops collect bribes, it's because they get paid poorly. They're paid poorly because governments don't collect enough taxes to pay them well. Corruption will always be there. Asian tigers had corruption, but it was fixed. Africans want more without increasing the pot.

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Nov 2, 2019

Will stay depressed, china is moving in rapidly with the equivalent of predatory loans for infrastructure and development projects, think ports, rail stations etc.. when the countries default china will essentially take possession of the projects solidifying their presence in the region. This will be allowed to happen by the dictators that are in power in the region due to corruption and bribes and will result in a geopolitical win for china within the next 100 years. after that they will use the Africans for cheap labor and resources to fuel their own economy like america did to china in previous years.

Most Helpful
Nov 3, 2019

This sounds about right. With China's wages increasing, and ASEAN countries developing more, Africa will provide cheap labor and natural resources, while China will provide lots of capital with strings attached. Interesting statistic of the day- there are currently more than 60,000 African students studying in China for university while there are 37,000 in the US. Long term prediction - with China bolstering their universities and luring top STEM students with scholarships, China could drain the continent's brain power as well. I also think that some countries in Africa might go "full China" and impose their own technocratic totalitarian regime with free markets AND it will probably work. Look no further than Paul Kagame and Rwanda - despite being a brutal dictator, he has turned Rwanda from being a wartorn hellhole into one of the best countries in Africa with a burgeoning tourism industry in two decades.

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Nov 3, 2019

There are definitely some pockets of hope scattered across the region where progress is being made but unfortunately too many undesirable people are leaching off the progress and inhibiting growth. As for the rest of the Continent, the Arabic nations are in shambles and will be held back due to a culture that for lack of better words behind the time.. class systems, religion and governance etc.... the rest is like we've said all china. I saw some amazing projects being built by Chinese companies in South Africa, Ethiopia and many other countries that look great from a far but when you get into the strings that come with the projects being paid for by the Chinese you realize that Africa is basically going to be a giant factory in the near future.

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Nov 3, 2019

This is why US should definitely stand up to China and see China as not as a friend, China could challenge the ruled-based order established by the US and export its authoritarianism. I think many African countries have too much corruption problems, they're taking Chinese money but overdrafting their future

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Nov 6, 2019

This speaks to the declining soft power.

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Nov 6, 2019

China has been there since the 80s with real engagement while Europeans gave a couple of dollars for aid and lectured Africans on democracy. Chinese entrepreneurs take risks other foreigners are unwilling to take and have exercised patience to see their results through. Speak to Africans and they'll tell you who they think is a true partner. The US is the preferred choice, for many good reasons, but they're not as active as needed.

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Nov 6, 2019

Projections on a single African country is hard by itself, it's quite ambitious to even frame that question for all the countries. In the 1950s and 60s many cities were considered modern on par with some European countries, but the infrastructure remained without major upgrades in some countries. Mauritius, Angola, SA, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, would probably laugh at your question; but it hints at the enormous complexity of viewing the countries there as "Africa". You can't look at it like a continent. Some countries will have conflict, as others enjoy enormous wealth, while others struggle with stagnant economies and other disparities; there's too much going on to capture in one mind or even frame. Simple answer is we don't know. Expect anything and to have your expectations proven wrong. That's Africa for you.

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Nov 7, 2019

Infrastructure private equity. Blackstone.

Nov 7, 2019

If those population estimates turn out to be accurate and other nations outside Africa maintain smaller but steady growth rates, this is gonna be one overcrowded planet.

Nov 8, 2019
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