In On Africa Press Release: 10 February 2020
Innovative youth-focused digital platform launches with the aim of unifying thousands of young people across South Africa
IOA’s ‘Voices Unite’ platform, which launched on the 10th of February, will bring together tens of thousands of youth aged 18-34 through a large-scale national research study focusing on a wide range of pertinent topics. These topics include the state of education, youth unemployment, the future of work, media and technology, infrastructure, healthcare and many others.
By Marthinus Swart
Analysis in brief: As ‘Big Data’ mining becomes more prevalent across the African continent, especially with regards to how political campaigns are run, there is hope that a more transparent use of political and voter data can be used to strengthen Africa’s democratic efficiency.
In the fast-paced, digitally driven world we currently inhabit, everything we do leaves a digital trail that can be used by a multitude of actors to gain a picture of who we are as human beings. We generate this digital trail when we browse the internet, move around with our smartphones, and when we talk to our friends and family on social media. Today’s reality is one of widespread information availability which has, in turn, given rise to the era of ‘Big Data’ – referring to society’s ability to harness information in novel ways and create new forms of value.
By James Hall
Analysis in brief: A new generation of African builders is coming up with local and African-oriented solutions to housing shortages and the expense of building. Some of their inventions are inspiring.
“African solutions to African problems” is a phrase heard in all matters, from humanitarian and political crises that affect the region to infrastructure and economic challenges. Housing for all is a need that is becoming more urgent as urbanisation accelerates throughout the continent. Old ways of building are being reconsidered by young construction engineers who apply new technologies, and in some cases, revisit the value of traditional materials. The goal is affordable, decent housing that appeals to the African lifestyle. Working against the affordability of housing are outdated building regulations, inefficient supply chains, and a lack of construction personnel with advanced training. A holistic approach to meeting Africans’ housing requirements is being undertaken, from shaking up local bureacracies to skills training, because it is now understood that good housing is not just an individual desire but a social and national economic necessity. Decent housing improves its occupants’ health and education, providing water, hygienic facilities and a place for students to do homework.
By James Hall
Analysis in brief: No continent will see population growth like Africa in the 21st century. Whether this growth brings economic progress, or the reverse, betterment of social services or their collapse and a strengthening of democracy or political chaos depends on planning and visionary leadership.
Even with deadly pandemics occuring like the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020, the remaining 80 years of the 21st century will see huge rises in Africa’s population numbers. Within the next 30 years, as the world’s population is expected by the UN to increase by 2 billion persons, from 7.7 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050, five of the nine countries that will constitute more than half of that growth will be located in Africa. They are in order of their growth: Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Egypt. The aforementioned countries have one thing in common. In 2020, each country is experiencing some degree of political disruption, from a terrorist insurgency in Nigeria, rebel warfare in DRC, and degrees of encroaching authoritarianism in Egypt, Ethiopia and Tanzania. One fear of political observers is that as populations grow and strain available resources and degrade the environment, political instability will increase.
Responding to the challenges and opportunities of the 4th industrial revolution
During an event held by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation (TMF) in 2018 in partnership with Heavy Chef, former President Mbeki stressed the importance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) for the African context, and expressed concern about whether South Africans in general, and educators in particular, are adequately prepared to respond to the challenges of the 4IR. In response to Mbeki’s call, the TMF formed a multi-stakeholder Working Group (WG) comprising of academics, educators, policymakers, civil society and thought-leaders to tackle the complex question of what practical steps South Africa, and Africa in general, needs to take to build a foundation for a successful transition into the 4IR.
The TMF contracted In On Africa to lead the comprehensive research assessment and analytical work of the WG, and provide support throughout the project on the planning, managing, implementing, assessing and reporting. Through extensive consultation with the WG, experts in the education space, and a wide range of sources, it has become clear that South Africa (as well as other African countries) is not currently equipped to join the 4IR. This is for a number of reasons, including a lack of basic and technical infrastructure, poorly trained teachers, curricula that are no longer relevant, and education stakeholders not collaborating effectively.
An assessment of Botswana’s socio-political landscape
Long considered a beacon of democracy and good governance, Botswana’s 2019 General Election was the first true test of the democratic experiment running since 1966. Known primarily for its diamond mining industry and as a safe haven for African elephants, Botswana made headlines when the lifting of its elephant hunting ban in early 2019 saw the sons of the country’s founding father leave the party that he had formed. What transpired subsequently has been a cunning battle of politics and extravagant campaigns, culminating in the most tightly contested elections in the history of the country.
IOA’s latest special report contextualises Botswana’s socio-political landscape in the lead up to the 2019 General Election, and looks to analyse the events preceding the election and their impact on the final election outcome. A further value-add which the report provides is the codification of common socio-political practices and general knowledge that is widely known by most Batswana, yet tends to lack in the broader literature. The main aim of this report is to equip the reader with the necessary knowledge to better-understand the country’s political and social dynamics, and their subsequent impact on the outcome of the 2019 election.
The Africa Country Benchmark Report (ACBR) is the definitive resource for understanding Africa, providing comprehensive assessments of all 54 African countries. The report scores, ranks and insightfully assesses each country holistically, as well as across business, economic, political and social factors, all presented in an 750-page infographic-driven publication.
View the ACBR intro video below or click here for more information on the ACBR.