Most economic transformations begin in rural areas. 637 million (61.6%) of Africans live in rural areas. If the potential of Africa’s rural areas is developed and harnessed, it would lead to significant increases in food production, job creation, and economic growth. Here are four (4) key drivers of rural development in Africa.
Agriculture: Feeding the projected global population of over 9 billion in 2050 will require a 70 % increase in global food production. In Africa, an overwhelming majority of rural households have access to land and are directly cultivating it. [A survey carried out revealed 93% of the sample and 98% in sub-Saharan Africa have access to land and are cultivating it].
ICT Success and Mobile Penetration: According to GSMA, an association of mobile network operators worldwide, there are 747 million SIM connections in sub-Saharan Africa, representing 75% of the population. Another GSMA report from 2019 for West Africa specifically, found that there is an 86% SIM connection penetration rate, and that mobile internet has a 26% penetration rate. It is predicted that by 2025 mobile internet will have a 40% penetration rate in West Africa. Increased mobile penetration is estimated to increase the Sub-Saharan African Economy by as much as $150 billion.
African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA): The African Continental Free Trade Area will create a single market for goods and services for the first time in Africa’s history. The agreement will cover a geographic area with a combined GDP of $3.2 trillion and a population of 1.2 billion people. It has the potential to drastically accelerate economic growth and exceed the African Development Bank’s current estimates for GDP growth from $1.7 trillion in 2010 to more than $15 trillion by 2060.
Promising Innovations and Resilient Entrepreneurs: Across the continent there are several promising innovations and start-ups led by resilient entrepreneurs addressing key structural problems, like inefficient food distribution, inadequate waste management or unreliable energy infrastructure. In 2017 African tech start-ups alone received more than $560 million in investment, providing solutions and creating employment.