Africa is primed as a leading hyper-growth market with the fastest-growing middle class populations globally, totaling more than $5 trillion in growth opportunity, according to a McKinsey report. But not only that, the continent is set to have the largest global workforce on the planet within the next decade.
 
These great opportunities suffer from an ominous cloud blocking the sun — imagine the fastest-growing workforce rushing into cities in Africa’s rapid-growth countries and finding no jobs, overcrowding, costly accommodations, and city infrastructures unable to accommodate their mobility.
 
Young people with exciting dreams of a better future will meet a harsh reality — intense poverty, crime, and growing resource crises (including food, water, and electricity shortages). Africa is with abundant resources, unable to respond and capitalize on its potential. This dilemma — also known as a super-wicked problem — deserves our attention.
 
There are no simple answers or quick fixes that are sustainable.
 
africa-infographic-from-the-world-bank

via the World Bank

Africa’s New Frontier: Perilous Promise 

To address these challenges, we need to think and act differently. Based on global research and local insights from forward-thinking leaders throughout Africa, it’s clear that we need a new breed of leaders. These leaders are the forward-thinking individuals that turn adversity into exponential opportunities. They transfer their leadership insights, invite diverse perspectives to challenge their assumptions, and are figuring out how to serve their complex economic ecosystems.

What’s more, technology continues to make the impossible a reality. As technology helps humanity solve our biggest challenges, it has also ushered in the 4th Industrial Revolution, bringing “great promise and great peril.” We’re all struggling to keep pace with this new frontier.

The future of Africa impacts the entire global economy. This is no longer a private matter, but rather an opportunity to work together solving our biggest systemic challenges.

The Bold and Fearless

There are some forward-thinking multinationals, development agencies, and policy-makers that are embracing this new frontier. They are challenging their own assumptions and fearlessly asking bold questions:

  • What if we are blinded by our past successes, unable to see future opportunities?
  • What if our strategy and decision-making practices are outdated (i.e. not aligned to reality)? Who and what can wake us up to reality?
  • What experiments could enable us to become smarter, faster, and better?

These aren’t academic questions — they need action immediately. Our imagination, beliefs, and ability to trust each other seem to be our biggest constraints.

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