People in Sub-Saharan Africa are more likely to live in cities than people in South-Asia
Wide open savannahs, roaming giraffes and people living in tiny communities of traditional houses. This is what many people think of when they think of Africa.
It is true that many people in African countries live in remote areas, and those people often have the highest levels of poverty, but more and more people are living in cities and large towns.
The number of urban residents in Africa nearly doubled between 1995 and 2015 and is expected to double again by 2035. Six of the 10 countries with the highest urbanisation rates in the world in 2013 were in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The increasing number of people living in cities comes with its own challenges, because many urban areas do not have the infrastructure needed to support these growing populations.
As more people move to urban centres it is expected to further isolate people in rural areas, who are already the most vulnerable.
More money leaves Africa every year than enters it
It is a common belief that African countries are net debtors to the rest of the world, but an Honest Accounts 2017 report found the opposite is true.
The report found that African countries annually receive around US$19 billion in aid in the form of grants, but over three times that much (US$68 billion) is taken out in capital flight, mainly by multinational companies deliberately misreporting the value of their imports or exports to reduce tax.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populated country, has roughly the same population density as Switzerland
A lot of people seem to think all problems in African countries can be attributed to overpopulation. That’s not true. Africa is far less densely populated than much of Europe. The United Kingdom is smaller than Gabon, but it has 30 times as many people. France has the same population as the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country five times its size.
The African continent is large enough to fit the land masses USA, China, India, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, the UK and Eastern Europe. Those countries have a combined population of more than 3.6 billion people, three times the population of Africa (1.2 billion).
Although populations are growing quickly in many African countries, not all problems can be tied to population growth.
Africa could become the world’s major food producer
As you would expect from a continent of its size, Africa is home to a wide variety of landscapes. There are mountain ranges, deserts, jungles, rainforests and plenty of land that is suitable for growing food. It is actually home to 60-65 per cent of the world’s uncultivated arable land and 10 per cent of renewable freshwater resources.
The potential is there, but Africa’s agricultural sector has the lowest productivity in the world. This contributes to food insecurity and malnutrition on the continent.
Upskilling small-scale farmers and introducing modern farming techniques can increase food security and prevent shortages.