Friday, November 21, 2008

Sub-Saharan Africa, 2025

The leading intelligence organisation in the US, the National Intelligence Council, has just released its latest global trends review (download here). The report predicts that by 2025, the US will have lost its superpower status. This is what it has to say about Sub-Saharan Africa:

Sub-Saharan Africa: More Interactions with the World and More Troubled
In 2025, Sub-Saharan Africa will remain the most vulnerable region on Earth in terms of
economic challenges, population stresses, civil conflict, and political instability. The weakness
of states and troubled relations between states and societies probably will slow major
improvements in the region’s prospects over the next 20 years unless there is sustained
international engagement and, at times, intervention. Southern Africa will continue to be the
most stable and promising sub-region politically and economically.

Sub-Saharan Africa will continue to be a major supplier of oil, gas, and metals to world markets
and increasingly will attract the attention of Asian states seeking access to commodities,
including China and India. However, despite increased global demand for commodities,
increased resource income may not benefit the majority of the population or result in significant
economic gains. Poor economic policies—rooted in patrimonial interests and incomplete
economic reform—will likely exacerbate ethnic and religious divides as well as crime and
corruption in many countries. Ruling elites are likely to continue to accrue greater income and
wealth, while poverty will persist or worsen in rural areas and sprawling urban centers. The
divide between elite and non-elite populations is likely to widen, reinforcing conditions that
could generate divisive political and religious extremism.

By 2025, the region’s population is expected to reach over one billion, notwithstanding the
effects of HIV/AIDS. Over one-half of the population will be under age 24, and many will be
seeking economic opportunity or physical safety via out-migration owing to conflict, climate
change, or widespread unemployment. The earliest global effects of climate change, including
water stress and scarcity, will begin to occur in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

Today almost one-half (23 of 48) of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are classed as
democracies, and the majority of African states are on a democratic path, but the most populous
states in the region and those with high population growth could backslide.

Although Africa is already assuming more of its own peacekeeping responsibilities, the region
will be vulnerable to civil conflict and complex forms of interstate conflict—with militaries
fragmented along ethnic or other divides, limited control of border areas, and insurgents and
criminal groups preying on unarmed civilians in neighboring countries. Central Africa contains
the most troubling of these cases, including Congo-Kinshasa, Congo-Brazzaville, Central
African Republic, and Chad.

In contrast to other regions of the world, African attitudes toward the US will remain positive,
although many African governments will remain critical of US policies on issues like the Middle
East, Cuba, and global trade. Africa will continue to push for UN reform and for permanent
representation on the UN Security Council.


CodLiverOil 1:27 p.m.  

I had a browse. Basically, couldn't see anything new.

When Nigeria was mentioned, the same problems that are bedeviling the country now, will only get worse and become more acute.

The population question which you mentioned (previously), that the majority of posts cared to stick their heads in the sand (and characteristically ignore the big issue), will be hanging more heavily than ever and that accompanied by poor planning and a redundant government will fuel ethnic and religious strife, influential self-seeking, selfish persons will try to expand their power base.

It's a shame, that in 17 years hence, there will be no improvement, in fact things will only get worse. What a pity for Nigeria.

Anengiyefa 4:18 p.m.  

@Codliverol, I dont know that Nigeria was mentioned specifically, although the fact that sub-Saharan Africa is said to continue to be a major supplier of oil, gas and metals to the world markets, and the references to poor economic policies rooted in patrimonial interests and incomplete economic reforms surely do apply to Nigeria very closely.

That the gap between the rich and the poor will continue to widen is disheartening and the threat of resultant political and religious extremism is scary. On the whole, not a very good prognosis for the future I'm afraid, unless we start doing something about it now.

The report suggests that the only way to avoid this gloomy picture is sustained international engagement and/or intervention. But I'm not sure what this means, because none of the aspects of this sad prediction can be tackled from outside Africa. The solutions lie within Africa itself. Perhaps the international intervention relates to African countries cooperating and joining forces attempting to deal with problems that affect them in common.

Anonymous,  9:26 p.m.  

codliveroil, why do you believe this thing wholeheartedly. i'd like to see previous reports made about other parts of the world. I bet you they got a lot wrong

Mr C 10:21 p.m.  

I had a browse and got the general idea, which I don't completely agree with.
One basic fact that is always excluded from these analysis is the fact that at the increasing conflict situations in Africa will only lead to a time when it will no longer be economic viable for economic activities to be sustained. Thus stating that Sub-Saharan Africa will continue to be a major supplier of oil, gas, and metals to world markets
and increasingly will attract the attention of Asian states seeking access to commodities,
including China and India" holds no basis.
Besides the rate at which things are changing now tells us that there presently is not enough information available anywhere that can project the global future outlook.

CodLiverOil 10:41 p.m.  
This comment has been removed by the author.
CodLiverOil 1:01 p.m.  

Nigeria was specifically mentioned at pages:
1)Page 10
"Unless employment conditions change dramatically
in parlous youth-bulge states such as Afghanistan,
Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen, these countries will
remain ripe for continued instability and state

2) Page 15
"The force of ideology is likely to be strongest in the Muslim
world—particularly the Arab core. In those countries that are likely to struggle with youth
bulges and weak economic underpinnings—such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and
Yemen—the radical Salafi trend of Islam is likely to gain traction..."
- Although Northern Nigeria is not the Arab core, many Hausas and Fulanis feel a strong (if not misplaced) kinship with them and have not been immune to being whipped up to murder their non-Muslim compatriots.

3) Page 42
"...Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen—are projected to remain on rapid-growth trajectories. Pakistan’s and Nigeria’s
populations are each projected to grow by about 55 million people."

Jeremy had mentioned the population problem previously (and well ahead before it has become fashionable to discuss). Nigeria's population is already in the range of 130 million, and now a further 55 million people. (55 million people is more than the present populations of Australia and Canada combined), imagine all those people being crammed (like sardines) into what is today called Nigeria taking the population in the region of 185 million people. This increase will be accompanied by a corresponding deterioration of living standards, as the economy won't be able to keep up.

4) Page 86
"...Domestic instability, insurgencies, and conflict within strategic energy-producing and exporting states. Ethnic and political violence and criminal activity currently threaten a large portion of Nigeria’s oil
production. State failure in a key energy producing country may require military intervention by outside powers to stabilize
energy flows."

The Americans have judged that Nigeria's military aren't up to it, and will probably have to take over securing the oil and gas for themselves.

Page 93
"In those countries that are likely to struggle
with youth bulges and weak economic underpinnings—such as in Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen—the radical Salafi trend is likely to gain traction."

More religious strife to come from up North, the "Christian" South may decide to get in on the act and respond

Page 86
"The challenge of
Islamic activism could produce a more intense backlash of Christian activism. Nigeria, Ethiopia, and other places in Africa will remain battlegrounds in this sectarian
struggle. "

5) Page 106
Climate change could set people at each other's throats
"...If even the
moderately severe projections of climate change are correct, the impacts could spur religious conflict through large sections of
Africa and Asia. Among the countries at greatest risk of such conflict and scapegoating of minority communities are a number of predominantly Muslim countries with significant Christian minorities (Egypt,Indonesia, and Sudan); predominately Christian states with substantial Muslim
minorities (e.g., DROC, Philippines, and Uganda) or finely balanced between Christian
and Muslim (Ethiopia, Nigeria, and
Tanzania).If religious structures"

So you see Anengiyefa, Nigeria is mentioned in multiple instances all of which are negative (sadly).

@Anonymous at 9:26PM, simply dismissing the report by saying that America has got some of it's predictions wrong in the past, is no excuse for inaction to allow the chickens to come home to roost so to speak.

It is true that America have made big gaffs, eg weapons of mass destruction and Iraq. But there is nothing in the behaviour of Nigerians and the government of the country that will cause one to think, "hold on maybe they (Nigerians) are turning a corner". The same old behaviours persist. Difficult issues are ducked or side-stepped, in the belief that that is how problems are solved.

If the Americans from "afar" can see that the country is currently set on a downward trajectory. How about someone who is "up close" (metaphorically speaking) - Audu Ogbe

Check out:

You can deny it all if you wish. But there is nothing on the cards in the near or medium term, to make one think that Nigeria will emulate the likes of China, and plot a steady course of a decade of uninterrupted economic growth. The performance of the last 48 years doesn't bear this out. I do hope the Americans and others are wrong, because that would mean that the nation is finally on the rise, but alas I fear they aren't.

Anengiyefa 2:12 p.m.  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anengiyefa 2:15 p.m.  

Mr C, while it may be true that information currently available is insuffient to accurately predict the situation two decades hence, it isnt easy for me to envisage conflict situations by 2025 so severe as to cause the simultaneous cessation of the production of oil and gas in Nigeria, Angola, Gabon and Equitorial Guinea and gold and diamonds in South Africa, Sierra Leone and other metal exporting nations on the continent.

And the present rate of growth in the economies of China and India (despite the current financial crisis), gives credence to the idea that their need to access African natural resources will be increased.

Anengiyefa 2:43 p.m.  

@Codliveroil, well thanks a lot. I cannot argue with you, since I didnt download the report and all I did was to rely on the short summary that Jeremy kindly provided.

I am in agreement with you that all of the predictions relating to Nigeria are negative. I am minded to trust these predictions and accept that they are more likely to be correct than wrong.

The key remains, what are we going to do about it? In Nigeria, our recent history has confirmed an alarming lack of insight and foresight. Sitting back now and saying "time will tell", is not an option and mere lamentation serves no useful purpose.

Mr C 11:08 p.m.  

We are saying exactly the same thing Anengiyefa.

Anengiyefa 1:51 p.m.  

Mr C, my understanding of the point you made is this:

That in making these predictions, no account is taken of the increasing conflict situations in Africa; that these conflict situations being so serious will at some point lead to a situaton where economic activity can no longer be sustained. And that therefore, the prediction that African countries will in 2025 continue to be a major supplier of mineral resources to the world, is unfounded.

My own point was that, it is very unlikely indeed that production of mineral resources in countries in all parts of sub-Saharan Africa that produce minerals, will cease simultaneously on account of conflict situations.

So you see, we were not saying the same thing at all.

Mr C 10:48 p.m.  

Anengiyefa,my mistake. I read your comment too fast the first time, I didn't see the "nt" in "isnt" (ref to the sentence that reads "it isnt easy for me to envisage conflict situations by 2025...").

We definitely aren't saying the same thing.

The angle I preach from looks at the predictions, stating a "more troubled Sub-Saharan Africa" and "an increase in African being the major supplier of fossil resources".

Considering the present civil conflicts situation in say the Congo (the quest for Coltane) or the Niger Delta, their spread and the failing capabilities of institutions have to taking actions.

I really cannot see how the region's economic activities can be sustained for another 10 years without a drastic change in the present ways things are.

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