Think Big: How Africa Could Profit from Leapfrogging

African countries rank low on many development indicators. People in many parts of the continent live a preindustrial, agrarian lifestyle with low incomes, low education levels, and high fertility rates. In order to raise living standards for its people, the continent cannot follow the road of development Europe or Asia have paved before. There is just not enough time for this procedure. In addition, Africa cannot afford to repeat the fatal errors the early developed countries have made during their progress, which was accompanied by extensive use of fossil fuels and high greenhouse gas emissions or an agriculture that is extremely productive but causes soil erosion, biodiversity losses, groundwater pollution etc.
Therefore Africa could and should leapfrog its way into the future, achieving sustainable technology and innovation directly without these costly detours of technological intermediate stages. There are examples where Africa has already leapfrogged into modernity but many more are available from which the continent could profit enormously, in the fields of agriculture, medicine, education and learning, finance or information technology.

Project leader(s):
  • Reiner Klingholz (Berlin Institute for Population and Development)

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