16 Africa in the World 16 Africa in the World

Contact at AFI team is Jakkie Cilliers
This entry was last updated on 2 December 2022 using IFs v7.84.

Africa’s development depends, in part, upon a facilitating global environment. In this theme, we review global trends and then present four global scenarios, asking what the ‘development ceiling’ for Africa is in a Sustainable World, a Divided World, a World at War and a Growth World.

Summary

  • Globally, economic heft is shifting towards Asia. By 2043, China will overtake the US as the single most powerful country in the world. Still, the West will remain dominant in wealth, technology and power for the remainder of the 21st century and will continue to benefit inordinately from the current rules-based system. A rising China but still a dominant West
  • Despite its large population, Africa is a small global player. Its status has been elevated, at times, due to East–West competition, its role in the provision of fossil fuels, during the war on terrorism, and with the focus on development with the crafting of the Millennium and Sustainable Development Goals. Lately, Africa has been an area of competition between the West, China and Russia. Africa: A pawn rather than a player?
  • In the alternative global futures scenarios modelled in this theme, the current trajectory toward a Divided World reflects a retreat from the Western rules-based system. Divided World
  • The World at War scenario is the worst case for everyone, as overall gains are below any other. World at War
  • The Growth World scenario leads to better economic results but to the detriment of equality and efforts to contain global greenhouse gases, resulting in negative climate change impacts. Growth World
  • The Sustainable World scenario maximises economic growth, improvements in income and poverty reduction, but it is the most difficult to attain. Sustainable World
  • The size of the African economy, GDP per capita, and poverty levels are starkly different in the four scenarios. Impact on Africa
  • Only a great power implosion (in this case of China, the US or the EU) or expansion (in the case of the EU), or the accelerated impact of climate change would disrupt the broad structural transition currently underway. Wildcards: Great power implosion and climate change
  • The Sustainable World scenario would require a next generation rules-based system that needs to accommodate China, the US and the EU. The current trajectory towards a Divided World places a cap on Africa’s development potential. Beyond Africa’s development needs, the accelerated impact of climate change will require a collaborative approach rather than the current trend towards a political economy of division. Only much deeper economic and political integration complemented by much more rapid and sustained economic growth could offset Africa’s limited role in shaping global orientations. Conclusion: For Africa — politics for development

All charts for Theme 16

Introduction

With some exceptions since independence, Africa has not been able to narrow the gulf between itself and averages for the rest of the world on key indicators of well-being such as infant mortality and life expectancy. Measures of income have done even worse. Using a crude measure such as gross domestic product per capita (GDPPC) in purchasing power parity (PPP), the gap between Africa and the average for the rest of the world has steadily increased, reflected in Chart 1 in the Current Path. Some countries, such as Seychelles, Mauritius and Botswana have done well, with Ethiopia and Rwanda experiencing some of the fastest economic expansions in the world with an average of more than 7.5% per year over the past two decades. Nevertheless, most African countries have stagnated or fallen further behind in key development indicators compared to other regions, even compared to other developing regions such as South Asia and South America, reflected in Chart 1.

As background to this study, we used various datasets and indices, including the Global Power Index (GPI),[1GPI shows each actor’s portion of global power. It does so by weighting each actor’s share of global GDP (at exchange rates or purchasing power parity), population, a measure of technological sophistication (with GDP per capita as a proxy), government size, military spending, conventional power, and nuclear power. The National Intelligence Council (the public arm of the US intelligence community) has regularly used GPI in its foresight publication on global trends produced for an incoming US president shortly before the start of his/her term. The most recent, Global Trends 2040, is available from the National Intelligence Council, March 2021.] the Diplomacy, Military and Economy (DiME) index[2The DiME Index measures the general material capabilities of states for all members of the international system from 1960 to 2020 using economic production, population size, military investments and nuclear weapon counts, and diplomatic network variables, and then forecasts this measure using IFs. See JD Moyer, CJ Meisel, AS Matthews, DK Bohl and MJ Burrows, China-US competition: Measuring global influence, The Atlantic Council, May 2021. Also see JD Moyer, CJ Meisel and AS Matthews, Measuring and forecasting the rise of China: Reality over image, Journal of Contemporary China, 2022, 1–16, DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2022.2071879.] and the Formal Bilateral Influence Capacity (FBIC)[3Conceptually, the FBIC Index is a bilateral measure, where one country or a group of countries ‘sends’ its influence to another. The amount of traffic (such as trade and financial flows) between the two is termed the 'bandwidth’, and the extent to which if favours the sending or receiving state is termed the ‘dependence’. Together they measure how much one state influences the other. Countries with high levels of dependence (such as many African countries on trade with China) are more easily influenced, but FBIC also reflects the stock of influence that the West has built up in several centuries of engagement in Africa. See JD Moyer, CJ Meisel, AS Matthews, DK Bohl and MJ Burrows, China-US competition: Measuring global influence, The Atlantic Council, May 2021.] index to explore the likely evolution of power and influence globally. The first two indices measure power potential, a slippery and difficult exercise. The third, FBIC, is a measure of the bilateral influence of one country over another, which is particularly complex to quantify.

The three indices are embedded in the International Futures forecasting platform (IFs) that is hosted and developed by the Frederick S Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver. We have used IFs for over a decade to develop forecasts on Africa’s long-term development prospects and have made forecasts for every African country and region. Free and open-source, IFs is the most comprehensive forecasting platform available in the public domain, and it is used extensively by African and international agencies, including on progress towards achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our forecasts indicate that, on its current development trajectory, the growing divergence between Africa and the rest of the world including other developing regions using average GDP per capita is likely to increase. Things are improving in Africa but more slowly than elsewhere, with obvious large country-to-country variations.

Four recent successive shocks have accelerated that trend: the impact of the 2008/09 global financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the deteriorating relations between China and the West. Together with the effects of climate change and rising global tensions, the world is entering uncharted territory in the years ahead.

Given its dependence on imported food, Africa is especially at risk of being particularly food insecure. The threat of a simultaneous harvest failure in the six global breadbaskets that produce 60% of the world’s corn, rice, soy and wheat crops is rapidly increasing, among others risks.[4The six breadbaskets are Eastern China, the Canadian prairies and US Midwest, Northern India, North-western Europe, Southern Russia and Ukraine, and Brazil/Argentina. See J Woetzel, D Pinner, H Samandari, H Engel, M Krishnan, N Denis and T Melzer, Will the world’s breadbaskets become less reliable?, McKinsey Global Institute, 18 May 2020.] Thus, the UN Secretary-General’s report, Our Common Agenda,[5United Nations, Our Common Agenda, Report of the Secretary-General, 10 September 2021.] notes that ‘we are at an inflection point in history’ facing a stark choice between ‘breakdown’ and ‘breakthrough’.

To what extent will the growing divergence between averages for Africa and the rest of the world impact global sustainability and stability including increased migration to Europe and within the continent? Is it even possible to envisage a stable world so starkly divided between Europe and Africa in wealth and quality of life? Bear in mind that the average GDP per capita in Africa is 12% of that in the European Union (EU) with a 15-year gap in average life expectancy — and we expect both gaps to only close marginally over the next two decades.

Fixing these alarming discrepancies will require better governance in Africa characterised by stronger, more capacitated states, with fit for purpose institutions, more security, and improvements across various economic and human development sectors, much of which is within Africa’s domestic policy space. We examine many of these considerations in the geographic and thematic analyses elsewhere on this website.

Rapid development in Africa will also require a facilitating global environment — the subject of this theme. Our purpose is to model Africa’s development potential in four future global scenarios. Therefore, we respond to the ‘development ceiling’ question that the global context places on Africa.

The first scenario is a world that prioritises Sustainability, equity and the pursuit of the objectives set out in the Sustainable Development Goals. In a second Growth World scenario, countries focus on the rapid improvements in income and returns on investment, eschewing environmental concerns, but do so still within a global, rules-based context. While the two scenarios diverge and will impact Africa’s development differently, they represent a more favourable and facilitating global order. The third indicative scenario is of a Divided World with a future characterised by a sense of global fracturing, populism, nationalism and a retreat from globalisation — effectively, the fraying of the rules-based system as we know it, with its complex lattice of norms and institutions. The final scenario is a World at War, where competition between the West and its competitors, led by China, dominates all aspects of the global economy, politics and relations with violent outcomes. Shut out of the prospects for more rapid development, Africans suffer.

An African scenario complements each global scenario. In the Sustainable World, Africa achieves regional trade integration and development accelerates. Internationally, the continent increasingly speaks with a single voice on key issues. In the Divided World, there is some market integration at the regional level, such as within the East African Community (EAC), but generally, Africa remains divided and instability increases. In the World at War scenario, Africa is again a battlefield for others, this time for the minerals that enable the Fourth Industrial Revolution and for diplomatic support in forums such as the UN General Assembly. The African economy is smaller than in any other scenario, and poverty is deep and widespread. Trade integration makes little progress. The Growth World will see rapid but unsustainable growth. Inequality within and between countries increases, and poverty reduction is modest. Instead of regional integration, North Africa links up with the EU, the Horn with the Persian Gulf, West Africa with the US and Southern, Central and East Africa with China.

A rising China but still a dominant West

The rise of China and surrounding Asia as the most important source of economic growth globally and the associated shift of economic heft eastward is well established and widely reported. The result is a commensurate reduction in the West's relative economic and political weight. Africa is well positioned to benefit from this trend given its growing population and deepening ties with China.

Importantly, it is not only China that is rising but also much of Asia, reflecting an associated trend towards regionalism (or relative decoupling of Asia from other regions, among others) that, together with the decline in the global commons, reinforces global fracturing. Today, Asia’s economy is less dependent on trade with other regions and is increasingly more integrated and self-sufficient. China is at the heart of Asia, but Asia is much more than China, as the region includes many dynamic economies and large powers such as India and Japan — both of whom, however, are at odds with China.

For over a century, the US has been the most powerful country in the world (both in hard and soft power terms). It has successfully presented a narrative that equates global development, stability and progress with American interests.

The US derives considerable advantage from its preponderant global position, and globalisation allows it substantial advantages, attracting investment and allowing it to manipulate the international system to its benefit. The status of the US dollar as the global reserve currency allows America to consistently run a more significant current account deficit than other countries. However, globalisation is now less popular in the US than previously with the belief that it allows ‘others’ to steal intellectual property and catch up in a remarkable display of historical amnesia. The reaction to globalisation across rural America has now seen the rise of domestic populism that has, in turn, translated into a resurgence of nationalism and a degree of isolationism that is detracting from US soft power.

The presidency of Donald Trump and the US’s lack of consistency on global matters — ranging from its vacillations on the utility of NATO, stepping away from membership of the International Criminal Court (that predates Trump) to a lack of support for the World Trade Organization — have been deeply damaging to the US and the West. It has undermined the US’s global appeal and the trust that others have in it as a dependable ally, notably where foreign policy approaches may diverge significantly between presidents, such as views on North Korea, Russia and Taiwan when comparing the Trump administration with those of Obama or Biden.

The US's hard power advantage is declining, given economic growth in Asia and elsewhere. Its reaction to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, its subsequent military operations in Afghanistan and, in 2003, the disastrous invasion of Iraq that rescued Al Qaeda from the jaws of defeat and ignited ISIS have also affected perceptions of US hard power capabilities, even as the success of Western military equipment on the battlefield in Ukraine has restored some of that lost advantage.

The US has also seen a decline in its soft power of attraction. Most damaging was the image of a mob violently occupying Capitol Hill at the instigation of President Trump as he sought to overturn the presidential election results of 2020. The damage will resume if he is re-elected as US president in 2024, with significant ramifications for the West.

The inevitable power transition between the US and China is confirmed by work published early in 2022 by researchers at the Pardee Center for International Futures. Using 29 alternative scenarios about the future diplomatic, military and economic capabilities of the US and China (including forecasts of nuclear weapon stockpiles) within DiME, researchers conclude that: Chinese capabilities surpass the United States in 26 scenarios before 2060, with the most frequent period of power transition being the early 2040s.[6JD Moyer, CJ Meisel and AS Matthews, Measuring and forecasting the rise of China: Reality over image, Journal of Contemporary China, 2022, 1–16, DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2022.2071879.] Chart 3 presents one scenario result consisting of the per cent of global power of the EU 28 (including the UK given its alignment as part of the West), the US, the Russian Federation and China from 1960 with a forecast to 2063, this time using GPI.

The West will remain dominant beyond 2063. Despite the rise of China and Asia, the GDP per capita gap between North America, Europe and Japan compared to China has remained constant or will likely increase. The comparative advantages of citizens and countries in the West vs China and its few true allies, such as North Korea, Cambodia and others, remain large across the forecast horizon.

The EU, with an economy comparable in size to that of China and the US, sets the global ‘ethical’ standard among larger powers on many issues, ranging from antitrust activities to Internet privacy, membership of international organisations, etc., but it suffers from an acute deficit in military power capabilities when compared to the US and China. Its social-democratic or more egalitarian model of development, particularly that of the Nordic countries, stands in sharp contrast to the raw capitalism in the US and the denial of individual rights in China. For these reasons, European soft power is larger than that of any other group of countries.

However, Western countries evidence a trend of power diffusion away from the state, which is today less central in many people’s lives as additional patterns of interaction emerge. Here, a range of non-state actors, including the private sector, civil society and social media influencers now serve as prominent actors, complicating and crowding the space previously occupied by traditional bureaucracies and formal state-to-state relations. Power diffusion tends to detract from capabilities compared to the centralised systems of authoritarian systems, but, like other features of democratic countries, it provides for an additional buffer effect, allowing these countries to absorb significant social turmoil and increase accountability.

Given its history of colonialism, it is not surprising that even in 2000, the combined US/EU group had eight times more influence in Africa than the combined influence of China and Russia. By 2019, the ratio had declined to three times more influence, and it is closing. [7Using FBIC. Currently the IFs system does not provide for a forecast of FBIC]

The flow of materials from Africa to China and the investments made by Bejing in building infrastructure in and trade with Africa is now shifting relationships. Using FBIC (see Chart 4), China has increased its influence in 53 countries, and FBIC only calculates a small decline in one country, Tunisia. the UK has seen a decline in its influence in most African countries. Taking 2000 as a baseline, by 2019, the UK had increased its influence in 18 African countries but experienced a decline of double that number. The picture for the US is mixed.[8For a summary view on how Chinese and US influence in Africa has changed, see JD Moyer, CJ Meisel, As Matthews, DK Bohl and MJ Burrows, In brief: Fifteen takeaways from our new report measuring US and Chinese global influence, The Atlantic Council, 16 June 2021.] Following waning Russian influence for much of the 1990’s, Moscow is making a concerted effort to expand its political and economic footpring in Africa but with an economy the size of Brazil, lags significantly behind great powers, the US and China.

Measures of influence are at an early stage of development but are bound to become more popular over time.

In summary, should we consider the West (North America, Europe, Japan, South Korea and others) as one group and juxtapose it with countries aligned with China, the relative power and influence of the West is declining as a portion of the global total but remains dominant globally as the wealth and technology of its citizens and states significantly outpaces that of others.

Although China will become hugely influential within our forecast period, its rise does not translate into globally dominant power capabilities in any of the four scenarios. Even a combination of China, Russia and various other potential allies does not compare in power potential and influence to the West. The obsession among most analysts about the inevitable power transition between China and the US generally misses this larger picture. Current indications would, however, point to China becoming more influential in Africa than any other single country.

The GPI and DiME indices provide clarity on the true state of power in the international system, using a set of carefully curated measures and weights. In 2019, a combined West[9Consisting of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, UK and the US.] constituted 59% of total power in GPI, declining to 41.7% in 2043, while China/Russia and others would increase from 22% to 29%. Using the DiME Index, the West would have accounted for 56% of global power and China/Russia and others[10Consisting of Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.] 19% in 2019. By 2043, the numbers are 47% and 25%, respectively.

In considering these findings, it is essential to recognise the benefits that accrue to the US (and Europe) as the historical ‘system makers’ and therefore ‘privilege takers’ of the current global order.[11M Beckley, China’s Century? Why America’s Edge Will Endure, International Security, Winter 2011, 36:3, 48.] This group of industrialised, rich countries shares several core values (such as a market-based economy, democracy and human rights) and various cultural traits. The North Atlantic powers have dominated world affairs since the Industrial Revolution and have shaped the rules, norms and values that today determine inter-state relations.

In addition, several large and powerful countries outside the North Atlantic basin would be considered part of the West, including Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. On the one hand, the orientation of these countries could shift in China’s favour as leaders position themselves to benefit from China’s rise. On the other hand, movement on Taiwan and continued internal repression and human rights issues concerning communities such as the Uyghurs in China could see exacerbate current divisions. The unification of the two Koreas would likely shift that country into a non-aligned grouping or into the orbit of China given the impact of proximity and the accompanying trade-offs.

The current configuration comes with significant penalties for those on the margins of the system makers including for Africa, practically reflected in voting rights in important institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, on the UN Security Council and punitive risk ratings from Western-based credit agencies, among others. Beyond its growing economic heft, East and South-East Asia has a larger population than any other region and is increasingly interconnected through efforts such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Still, the region does not have the associated political superstructure, alliances or shared values to translate its growing economic heft into coherent power potential.

None of this should detract from the rise of Asia, which is reshaping global relations. Parag Khanna[4] adds to this analysis by arguing that China’s primary interests are ‘foreign resources and markets, not foreign colonies.’ Its grand strategy of building global infrastructure and engagement in regions such as Africa, he argues, aims to reduce its dependence on the West, bind its neighbourhood more closely together and reduce its reliance on foreign suppliers such as minerals from Australia and high technology from the US. In this view, China’s ambition is regional, not global dominance, accompanied by a facilitating international context.

Other regions and groups such as Latin America and the Caribbean, Oceania, and the Middle East (including Turkey) each constitute less than 5% of global GDP, except for Latin America and the Caribbean, which have a share of almost 7%. However, that portion will decline to below 5% by 2043. Many countries may consider themselves a bishop or a castle (rook) in the global game of chess, but most are plodding pawns.

Africa: A pawn rather than a player?

Against the background outlined above, we next consider Africa’s place and power in the international arena.

Recent history

Africa’s standing was elevated after independence, with East and West competing for influence until the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 robbed it of that strategic value. Until then, important states on the continent were courted with money and arms as part of the Cold War competition between Washington and Moscow. Democracy and considerations of human rights were generally trumped by loyalty, although sections within the development assistance community in some Western countries pushed against this crude division.

After that, Africa’s oil exports and location in the US war against terrorism briefly elevated its status at different points in time. Violent, political Islam spread from Afghanistan and Syria to North-West Africa and East Africa, primarily driven by the displacement effect of US military interventions in Asia and the Middle East. The period coincided with a brief unipolar moment during which the US achieved peak power and influence in the absence of a rival.

Africa’s importance again dissipated thereafter, allowing for a brief period during which development priorities rose in international prominence. That period culminated with the agreement on the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 and, in 2015, on the Sustainable Development Goals. The boom in hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas in the US that started in these years effectively ended its dependence on imported fossil fuels and hence concerns about stability in the Middle East as well as in key African states such as Angola and Nigeria, and the support that it had provided to oil-rich autocracies.

Given its colonial history, European–African, not US–African, relations have dominated the continent’s external engagement. Europe shares the same time zones and key languages, and the two are geographically proximate. Europe is Africa’s largest trading partner and has the most extensive stock of foreign direct investment. However, the growing popularity of right-wing parties in Sweden, Germany, France and Italy, amongst others, on top of the UK’s decision to send African asylum seekers to Rwanda on a one-way ticket does not auger well for future relations with Africa.

In contrast to the declining relations with the US and Europe, China’s footprint and influence in Africa has become more important each year. ‘No other country comes near the breadth and depth of China’s engagement in Africa,’[12G Epstein and J McDermott, China in Africa, Special Report, The Economist, 28 May 2022.] wrote The Economist in an in-depth study of the relationship in May 2022.

During the 1960s and 1970s, as the Cold War intensified, China–Africa relations were political and ideological to the extent that, in 1971, when the UN voted for China to replace Taiwan, 26 African countries voted in favour. Itself a poverty-stricken country, China provided military support and aid to the African continent. The construction of the Tazara railway line in support of the frontline states in their conflict with apartheid South Africa, then primarily supported by the West, serves as the most prominent showpiece.

China’s relationship with Africa changed during the 1990s as it increased in economic and political importance. A booming China needed oil and metals and eventually found an outlet for its sizable current account surplus and work for its construction companies that had built its roads, railway lines and ports, which perfectly matched Africa’s need for investment and infrastructure. However, China’s annual loans to Africa shrank with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in tandem with the steady reductions in its healthy current account surplus. Trade and return on investment are now more critical for China, even as it continues to buy favours in Africa, such as the recent gift of a modern parliament building to the government of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe, which has an external debt of US$14.4 billion, is heavily indebted to China, which is the only country willing to extend loans to Harare due to its deficient domestic investment environment, poor governance and dismal repayment record.[13Built by Shanghai Construction Group (SCG), the project was fully funded by the Chinese government as ‘a gift to the people of Zimbabwe.’ The building is the second major infrastructure donation to Zimbabwe by China after Beijing constructed the country’s largest stadium in 1987. China is currently upgrading Zimbabwe’s largest thermal power station at an estimated cost of US$1.2 billion. It made a US$533 million refurbishment at the Kariba South power station, the country’s largest hydropower. K Nyathi, China gifts Zimbabwe a modern Parliament, 1 July 2022, The East African.]

After a COVID-19-induced decline in 2020, the value of trade between China and Africa rose by 35% to US$245 billion in 2021. China is Africa’s largest bilateral creditor (as a group Western private banks have a larger share) and a crucial source of infrastructure construction and investment. Its projects also are concluded more rapidly. The average infrastructure project in the Belt and Road Initiative takes 2.8 years, roughly a third of the time needed by the World Bank or the African Development Bank, in part because environmental impact studies and other regulations are sometimes bypassed. Whereas the West provides aid and, through its various agencies, concessional loans, Chinese development finance takes the form of loans at near market rates, much of it for infrastructure.

However, China’s hard-nosed practice is quite different from its benevolent ‘win-win’ rhetoric. Contracts include strict confidentiality clauses, requirements that China be repaid ahead of others, the use of escrow accounts and specific identification of which revenues would be required to pay back loans. Because Chinese creditors are numerous and fragmented, keeping track is complex. More than one newly elected African leader (most recently President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia) has found the amounts that his country owed to China are much higher than initially thought.

China’s role in Africa is also expanding beyond trade and loans. Already, Chinese firms account for an estimated one-eighth of the continent's industrial output. Its digital infrastructure is critical to Africa’s communication, much of that built by Huawei, a company under US sanctions. The result is that political, military and cultural ties are all becoming closer. African views about China are now more favourable than those of the US, although a majority of Africans still list the US significantly ahead of China as a preferred future model given its more open society system of governance.[14See the collection of articles on regional and global relations on the Afrobarometer website.]

Relations between China and Africa have therefore matured and expanded in depth and scope. In April 2022, for example, China’s special envoy to the Horn of Africa, Xue Bing, offered to help ‘silence the guns’ in the Horn of Africa — a pragmatic move by an influential investor. China has about 400 construction and manufacturing projects worth over US$4 billion in Ethiopia alone. Since 2020, Ethiopia has been mired in a vicious ethnic conflict with the federal government in Addis Ababa pitted against rebel forces in the northern Tigray region. China’s offer to mediate will inevitably not focus on human rights and democratisation but the importance of economic development.[15K Bartlett, Beijing Seeks Mediator Role in Turbulent Horn of Africa, Voice of America, 30 June 2022.]

The response in the West to China’s growing influence in Africa has been alarmist with recent efforts to counter the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa and elsewhere. In 2021, in the US, the Biden administration launched its Build Back Better World, and the EU launched its Global Gateway; in 2022, the G7 club announced its Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) to mobilise US$600 billion in infrastructure projects over the next five years and with a particular focus on Africa.[16K Cheng, The G7 is playing catch-up with China in Africa, Quartz Africa, 13 July 2022; J Leonard, A Nardellie and J Fabian, US Resuscitates Bid at G-7 to Counter China’s Belt and Road, 27 June 2022] And suddenly, senior US diplomats visit the continent.

Africa’s prospects

Despite its large population, Africa is a small global player with its combined influence diminished by the number of its constituent countries and its current lack of economic and political integration. Without a supranational authority such as the EU Commission and its various structures and deep economic integration, the calculation of Africa’s power potential is inevitably less than the sum of its more than 50 members, which, using DiME, stood at 5.5% in 2019. By 2043, Africa will only increase its portion of global power to 7%. Different from the EU, the Commission of the AU is essentially an intergovernmental secretariat with limited and circumscribed policy latitude and the continent still has to register progress on trade integration.

However, there is also a flip side to Africa’s large number of constituent states, illustrated by Russia’s recent charm offensive that followed its invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions and ostracism from the West.[17Africa in Fact newsletter] Russia accounts for almost half of Africa’s arms imports, and is a major supplier (along with Ukraine) of Africa’s cereal imports, badly disrupted by the war. But it accounts for only 1% of the continent's foreign direct investment (FDI). This is minute compared to FDI from China, Africa’s largest trading partner; the US is second and France is third.

Africa’s economic growth and population increase will steadily increase its power potential but more slowly than most analysts think.

An important reason is that Africa’s labour force is quite small in relation to its dependants (children and the elderly) although it is increasing rapidly, while workers suffer from low levels of education, with some exceptions, and poor health. Africa is rapidly approaching a double burden of disease as the rates of non-communicable disease are increasing rapidly. The result is that Africa’s labour productivity is about one-fifth the average of the rest of the world, and together with high poverty levels and low incomes, the capital per working-age person is even less.

Although it receives relatively large amounts of capital through remittance inflows and aid, Africa loses substantial amounts due to corruption and illicit financial outflows. Because of extreme poverty levels, unemployment, high levels of inequality and limited government revenues to improve basic services delivery, key African countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and others, experience high crime levels and instability. However, perceptions of instability are often generalised to apply equally to all African countries. Much of Africa’s physical capital, such as roads, rail, water, electricity and other essential infrastructures, is still of a colonial-era vintage, but it is being improved largely due to recent investments by China in railways, ports and associated infrastructure.

Manufacturing and services will expand rapidly on the continent – although much of this growth will initially be at the lower end of the value-add curve (albeit higher than the current value derived from commodity exports). Until recently, the evolution of complex global supply chains meant that the location of least-cost manufacturing tended to gravitate towards the region with the cheapest labour, with domestic stability, policy certainty and access to a large market, typically Asia. Given reductions in input costs, the push towards reshoring and diversification and the need to reduce carbon emissions provide incentives to locate manufacturers closer to the future market in which Africa features prominently. Sub-Saharan Africa will increasingly feature as a location where industry can thrive, although this depends upon the rapid integration of its fragmented markets, the provision of infrastructure, and investment in improving its human capital endowment.

Eventually, regional economic communities with common currencies, freedom of movement of labour and capital across borders, and standard import and export tariffs will increase Africa’s attraction as a location for manufacturing. Indeed, Africa took a big step towards this goal when its members ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

These prospects do not hide the fact that Africa has effectively been an instrument of global power competition since independence, reflected in the preceding analysis, although health and humanitarian relief considerations have also been prominent. Its limited influence is hardly surprising since the entire economy of Africa only recently broached 3% of the world economy. It will increase to 5% of the world economy on current expectations by 2043.

Rather than a more productive economy, the increase in Africa’s power potential is a result of the continent’s rapidly growing population which will increase from 17% to 24% of the global total. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, constitutes a mere 0.6% of the global economy and will increase that portion to almost 1% by 2043, reflecting its lack of global economic significance, but not the extent to which it dominates within Africa, as its economy accounts for 17% of the continental total.

Against that background, the following section presents four global scenarios and then examines their impact on Africa’s development potential.

Logic and modelling

We use two dimensions to frame alternative global futures: the extent of international cooperation/fracturing (on the vertical axis) and the pursuit of more or less sustainability (on the horizontal axis). The results are four broad global scenarios: a Sustainable World, a Divided World, a World at War and a Growth World. Each global scenario has an associated African scenario premised on trade integration effects.

The Growth World scenario leads to better economic results but to the detriment of equality and efforts to contain global greenhouse gases, resulting in negative climate change impacts. For trade, African countries and regions link up with Europe, the Persian Gulf, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and China, signing preferential agreements with non-African countries and eschewing continental trade integration. The World at War scenario is the worst case for everyone, as overall gains are below any other. Autocracy increases everywhere, and each African country tries to grow based on its small domestic market without the advantages of trade integration.

The Sustainable World maximises economic growth, improvements in income and poverty reduction but is the most difficult to attain. The associated African scenario includes the full implementation of the AfCFTA and steady progress in accountability, democracy and stability. In a Divided World, the sense of instability increases. Everyone seems to be angry, selfish and unhappy and xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiment increase even as migration increases. However, limited trade integration at the level of regions such as East Africa does progress.

The scenarios were modelled using the IFs forecasting platform. Each scenario consists of interventions applied to two groups of countries, namely African countries and the rest of the world, except for the World at War scenario where no distinction is made in the interventions applied to Africa and the rest of the world. The interventions applied to Africa for the Sustainable, Divided and Growth Worlds are based on the modelling done for the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario for each African country on the website consisting of 12 sectoral scenarios. This is the basis for the Africa component in the Sustainable World scenario. A reduced version is applied to Africa in the Divided and Growth Worlds, respectively. The World at War scenario, therefore, does not include any component from the Combined Agenda 2063 scenario on Africa.

The scenarios are described in more detail in the sections that follow and key characteristics summarized in Chart 5.

Divided World

The Divided World scenario reflects the acceleration of the current trends towards a more fragmented global order and associated retreat from a rules-based system.

Powerful countries like the US, China, and others, alternate between efforts to frame a favourable global agenda and isolationism, while the EU uses its market dominance to protect national interests as happened when it blocked efforts to relax intellectual property rights on vaccines during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Most likely, under a Trump or similar populist president, the Divided World would see the US pursue a unilateralist approach to the detriment of the West and, ultimately, itself. Since the US and the EU do not act as one in this scenario, China overtakes the EU in 2027 and the US in 2031, using the Global Power Index, although much later using DiME, which applies heavier weightings to technological sophistication.

On this trajectory, the steady loss in legitimacy, influence and salience of the UN proceeds apace. By 2043, the Security Council has effectively been moribund for more than a decade, and non-permanent members do not attend its sessions in protest against the veto of permanent members. Local solutions and hard border control dominate, and the free movement of capital, labour and money is restricted. Uncertainty and insecurity mean that the number of nuclear-armed states increases and that efforts to contain proliferation collapse.

The West is divided, with the US and the EU constantly bickering and pulling in different directions providing the opportunity for others, most prominently China and Russia, to exploit these differences to their advantage. Nominally, three clubs dominate and jockey for influence: an expanded G7, an expanded BRICS,[18Countries that had apparently expressed interest by 2022 include Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Venezuela and Nigeria.] and a group of countries trying to stay out of the fight, mainly consisting of the bulk of African countries, India and others from South America and Asia. Practically none of the clubs can fully cloak the differences in approaches among their members. New clubs and alliances emerge as countries seek the best partners to pursue their interests, but none last.

Having been driven closer due to European sanctions on Russian oil and gas, the rapprochement between China and Russia continues. Still, the two remain wary of one another even as Russia is eventually entirely dependent upon China for oil and gas exports and its economy is more commodity-dependent than ever.

Instead of joining the West in an anti-Chinese front, India pursues its interests and alliances, including with Africa. Relations between India and Pakistan worsen, however. New Delhi’s 2019 unilateral decision to alter Kashmir’s constitutional status already increased tensions, and in this scenario, armed confrontation along their shared borders become endemic. The Asian region is particularly tense, with the Chinese invasion of Taiwan likely to occur towards the end of the forecast horizon. At this point, the decline in the relative power of the US vis-à-vis China is such that the US cannot substantively resist.

Some countries, such as the US, China, Russia, Israel, Turkey, Iran and others, regularly violate norms of behaviour with domestic priorities placed ahead of the global good, including the fraying of humanitarian practices and principles.

Efforts to pursue sustainable development are not entirely abandoned in this scenario but have limited and inconsistent effects. Sustainable development solutions are regional and scattered. The result is that efforts to contain carbon emissions and combat climate change are weak and ineffective compared to the Sustainable World scenario.

Perceptions in this scenario reinforce long-standing caricatures of Africa (corrupt, poor, suffering), the West (unequal, selfish, exploitative), and China (aggressive, authoritarian). Rather than pulling together, the African Union is divided, and an African voice is generally absent from discussions about global futures. Some countries try to remain non-aligned; others align with the West or China. There is no solid African voice or position on crucial issues ranging from peace and security to climate change and development.

Attitudes harden. This world is more crowded, angry and fearful, with a substantial illegal migrant movement that drives populist politics and xenophobia in Europe and North America. Africa’s colonial legacy transforms into a decidedly anti-Western sentiment. Illegal migration to the EU becomes a big problem and regularly overwhelms border arrangements with violent clashes and deaths. In the Divided World, relations between most African and European countries deteriorate significantly, and the once close partnership between the EU and the AU is eventually a distant memory.

A lack of coherence in decision-making on crucial development policies means that Africa falls further behind average development indicators in the rest of the world.

There is little appetite for follow-on Sustainable Development Goals in a Divided World, although African countries are adept at playing China, Europe and the US off against one another, as it has done for several decades. African subregions, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), deepen existing levels of economic integration, but progress with the AfCFTA stalls. Violent conflict grows in Africa, reflecting global tensions and the complexity of the number of actors involved, feeding off the harmful impact of climate change in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, among others. With its large youthful and poor population, instability increases.

World at War

Hard power competition dominates in the World at War. In a clear sign of where things could go, the US House of Representatives passed the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act on 27 April 2022. The law will sanction African countries that trade with Russia amid the war in Ukraine. The act is now awaiting the approval of the Senate, after which US President Joe Biden will sign it into law.

Four triggers could realise this scenario. The first is the escalation of Russia’s war on Ukraine into a broader military confrontation with NATO — very likely if Russia uses tactical nuclear weapons to attack Ukraine, as it has often threatened. A more likely trigger is China’s invasion of Taiwan in the next decade, with military intervention from the US and others. A third trigger, less likely given the large disparities in their material power capabilities, could be border conflict and eventually a war between India and China. Although India will continue to have significantly fewer power capabilities than China, the two are increasingly regional and global power competitors that share a long border.

In addition, the often violent rivalry between Chinese-supported, nuclear-armed Pakistan and India over Kashmir could also serve as a trigger, particularly if the two look to balance their relations with Washington and Beijing. India already fought a brief war with China in 1962, and India and Pakistan have had numerous border skirmishes and military stand-offs.

In this scenario, Russia and China enter into a formal military alliance that directly opposes NATO. It builds on the statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2022 that their partnership has ‘no limits’ as the two vowed to deepen cooperation on various fronts. Already, in 2022, NATO added China to its perceived threat environment. Others eventually join the China–Russia military treaty, including Iran[19Russia and Iran are both under sanctions from the West and were military allies in the conflict in Syria. During July 2022, President Putin visited Iran and the two countries are expanding ties.] (which has a long-standing aggrievement with the West), Pakistan, Vietnam and Cambodia.

The war in Ukraine has already pushed Russia closer to China as the primary destination for its oil and gas exports.[20China is globally the largest importer of liquified natural gas (LNG), 40% of which comes from Australia, which has difficult relations with China, and just over 10% comes from the US. Russia supplied between 170 and 200 billion cubic metres (BCM) of natural gas to Europe in recent years but the gas is extracted at different locations to those fields pumping to China with no pipelines connecting them. At the moment, there is only one pipeline with China, the Power of Siberia, which started to deliver gas in 2019 and has a capacity of around 38 BCM. Plans are underway to build four additional pipelines. Collectively, these would expand capacity between the two countries to over 100 BCM a year, equivalent to almost half of China’s needs.] Under full sanctions from the West, Russia has no other outlet for its fossil fuel exports upon which its economy depends. For China, importing gas and oil from Russia bolsters its efforts to reduce its reliance on strategic resources from Western suppliers such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue members consisting of the US, Australia, Japan and India.[21S Tabeta, China turns to Russian gas to curb dependence on Quad members, 12 March 2022, Nikkei Asia]

In this world, India’s alarm at Chinese assertion and aggression, particularly in the South China Sea, sees it align itself more closely with the West to balance Islamabad’s close relations with Beijing. In a starkly bipolar world, there would be less space for India’s traditional non-aligned orientation.

New Delhi’s decisions are further complicated due to its relations with Russia, with which it has traditionally had cordial but guarded relations, buying most of its arms from there, and its testy relations with China, which it considered a regional rival supporting Pakistan.

Nuclear weapons proliferation and possibly even the use of tactical nuclear weapons characterise the World at War scenario after efforts to review the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) collapsed; and in 2026, the New START treaty[22The New START treaty caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the US and Russia can deploy and limits the land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.] lapses.

The defining characteristic of the World at War scenario is the division of the globe into two poles with little space for others — a return of global relations to a bipolar era reminiscent of the height of the Cold War but on steroids. China is in a different league from the former USSR. Its economy is already larger than the US’s using purchasing power parity. At market exchange rates, the Chinese economy surpasses the US in 2030 and is a much larger trading nation. In 2021, China was already the largest trading partner for 120 countries and regions, including the US and the EU.[23China International Import Expo, China's booming foreign trade brings benefits to the world, 24 March 2021]

The intense competition between the US and China in this scenario will affect every country and region in the world, even as struggles for self-determination and independence intensify, such as efforts by the Kurds to establish their homeland and a resumption of the struggle of the Palestinians to ease the yoke of Israeli occupation. The wide appeal of the Palestinian issues effectively torpedoes the Abraham Accords of 2020 that briefly normalised relations between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, again isolating the Jewish state in the Middle East.

Africa becomes a key area of strategic competition for control of its strategic mineral resources in the World at War scenario, now with the potential to benefit from its beneficiation. China has been a first mover in securing a supply of the strategic minerals required for the transition to a renewables-based future, including lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and palladium. For years, Chinese companies were the only ones willing to invest in a country like the DR Congo. As a result, by 2021, Chinese companies controlled 60% of global cobalt reserves and 80% of the world’s cobalt refining capacity, which helped China secure a significant lead as an electronic vehicle battery maker to the extent that a single Chinese company, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL), controls one-third of the entire global battery market.[24C van Staden, Green energy’s dirty secret: Its hunger for African resources, Foreign Policy, 30 June 2022]

Whereas world military expenditure averaged just above 2% of GDP in 2022, by 2043, it will have increased to 3.2% in the World at War scenario, compared to 1.8% in the Sustainable World, 1.9% in the Growth World and 2.6% in the Divided World scenarios. Instead of spending US$3.2 trillion on the military in 2043 (in the Sustainable World scenario), the world will spend US$5.1 trillion. In Africa, military expenditure increases from US$64.2 billion in 2022 to US$278.6 billion by 2043 in the World at War scenario.

As arms purchases and the number of arms increase, Africa is again flooded by surplus weaponry as older stocks are replaced with more modern armaments and as countries upgrade and replace their systems, as happened at the end of the Cold War.

 

Democracy declines globally and Africans are pressured to choose sides to the extent that problems emerge in the interoperability of the Internet, which is now segmented into regional fiefdoms. The momentum towards the AfCFTA and trade integration at the subregional level fails. Each country does the best that it can, on its own. Groups in Sudan, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Cameroon take up arms to secede.

Instead of African states being able to secure their territories and borders, in the World at War scenario, the Islamic State further spreads its influence to establish the caliphate's future after being defeated and driven out of Syria and Iraq. Already, in 2022, at least 20 countries directly experienced the group’s activities, with more than 20 others used for logistics and to mobilise funds and other resources.[25EM Lederer, Security expert warns UN Africa could be future IS caliphate, 9 August 2022, The Washington Post] In this scenario, Iran and Russia’s allies play an important role in funding, supporting and expanding terror in Western-aligned African countries.

Growth World

Neoliberal, trickle-down economics characterises the Growth World with little care for the environment. This high-growth, unequal world would see slow reductions in extreme poverty. Efforts to introduce minimum tax rates for corporations, which started in 2021 when 136 countries agreed to implement a 15% global minimum rate, do not get off the ground. Large corporations, particularly in the US, continue to increase their profits without a physical presence in the countries where they operate. Domestically, the US steps away from antitrust efforts that could reign in anticompetitive behaviour. The practice of tax avoidance through profit shifting to low-tax jurisdictions effectively leads to a race to the bottom as countries compete to attract foreign direct investment. Developing countries suffer in the process as monies are drained away to tax havens and least-cost locations.

Chart 8 shows the rapid growth in world GDP in the Growth World scenario, passing US$187 trillion by 2043, and the simultaneous rise of carbon emissions to the end of the forecast horizon. In contrast to the Sustainable World scenario, income growth comes at the cost of a more rapidly deteriorating environment.

Competition between China, the US and Europe remains, but political disagreement is tempered by the pursuit of profit, and overlapping membership in various trade and other agreements. Instead of contracting, global value chains expand, and the period of reshoring manufacturing in 2022 is short-lived. Instead, manufacturing continues to seek the lowest-cost location, steadily moving from China to surrounding countries with lower labour costs. Countries that provide quality of life, security for investment, and the required information technology attract the best and brightest. Their companies can compete in an unregulated global market to provide high-end services without the need to establish a legal presence or pay taxes elsewhere.

With a focus on maximising profit and the extraction of rents, the saliency of the United Nations and its Security Council will also decline in this scenario. The developed world adapts to the impact of climate change, but the developing world suffers. Instead of the AfCFTA, African subregions link up externally, such as North Africa with the EU, several West African countries entering into agreements with the US, the Horn countries with the Middle East, and East and Southern Africa with China. Central Africa trails behind. More significant migration flows will inevitably follow.

The Chinese economy grows more rapidly in the Growth World scenario meaning that domestic pressure for more freedom due to rising incomes and growing inequality makes China’s future more unpredictable.

Sustainable World

In the Sustainable World scenario, the international community collectively balances growth and distribution by reducing overall consumption and constraining greenhouse gas emissions. Collaboration and norm development extend across multiple sectors, including a resurgence in the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and others, such as the introduction and steady increase of a global minimum corporate tax rate, which stands at 20% by 2043. Domestically, the US pursues aggressive antitrust policies to increase competition and rein in corporate concentration.

This future is most likely to emerge from the crisis and the rapid acceleration of the impact of climate change and repeat global pandemics to the extent that a reluctant world community is forced to a collective response. Practically, expanding the EU to include Turkey and a democratic Russia, among others, could also tilt the balance of power globally in favour of the Sustainable World scenario. Different from the US and China, the EU has limited hard power, and prioritises its role as a key advocate of a more balanced rules-based system, reflected in its approach to digital sovereignty towards harmonised rules on fair access and use of data that protects individual rights and democratic freedoms, amongst others.

The Sustainable World scenario is the most difficult to achieve, however. Unlike the other three scenarios, leaders with little in common need to take bold steps to realise a better world that will inevitably run into significant domestic resistance.

Under the auspices of the UN, this scenario would see countries craft and agree on an ambitious set of follow-on Sustainable Development Goals, beyond 2030, to eliminate extreme poverty in the most affected region, sub-Saharan Africa, which is also under significant threat from climate change. These follow-on goals and targets merge climate mitigation and adaptation ambitions into an overarching and comprehensive Global Sustainability Framework (GSF) that flows from the 2024 Summit on the Future. Part and parcel of the GSF is a new push on aid to low and low-middle income African countries. Whereas aid to Africa amounted to US$70 billion in 2019 (2.2% of Africa’s GDP), by 2043, it has more than doubled to US$149 billion, larger than in any other scenario, although now accounting for only 1% of Africa’s much larger GDP.

Commitments of this nature mean the world can sustainably pursue poverty alleviation and thus not compromise on reducing carbon emissions and environmental protection advancing a just energy transition. Chart 9 shows the dual impact of the Sustainable World scenario on global poverty and carbon emissions. The global poverty rate at the US$1.90 poverty line will fall from a high of 9.5% in 2020 to 2.2% by 2043, while emissions peak in 2029 at 9.8 billion tons of carbon.

In this world, an expanded G20 has replaced the G7 and the BRICS, and coordinates responses to global turbulence such as recurring pandemics that are a feature of a 2043 world with 9.5 billion people. This is a rules-based future that eventually includes a revision of the voting rights in both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and an end to permanent members and the veto within the UN Security Council. By 2043, a revised Council consists of a mixture of powerful countries with increased voting rights and a rotational system of other members. However, it is still a council of states that do not include non-state actors such as civil society or business.

Nuclear disarmament also proceeds apace. In July 2022, 122 countries adopted an international treaty banning nuclear weapons. The treaty makes it illegal for signatories to develop, test, produce, manufacture, acquire, possess, stockpile, transfer, use or threaten nuclear weapon use, or to encourage anyone to engage in these activities. However, none of the nuclear-armed states signed, making it effectively futile. In the Sustainable World scenario, the UK and France, then the US, China, Russia, India and Pakistan eventually sign and ratify the treaty, followed by others, including Israel and Korea, shortly after unification.

The momentum for the nuclear-armed states to join started in 2022 with the review conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). It followed the extension of the New START treaty between the US and Russia set to expire in 2026.

In this scenario, the AfCFTA is fully implemented in Africa by 2033 and discussions on deeper economic and political integration follow. By 2043, Africa has progressed significantly towards establishing a continental customs union, with subregions such as the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) having even found a common market. All countries are democratic, and regular elections see a steady turnover of leadership as Africans hold their leadership to account.

Impact on Africa

The analysis presented in this theme often refers to Africa with its huge diversity as if it were a single country. The reality is much more complex.

Beyond cultural, linguistic and other differences, most African countries have very small populations and economies. In 2019, only seven countries had economies larger than US$100 billion, while 16 were less than US$10 billion in size. While a few countries, such as Nigeria, have large populations, 21 African countries had fewer than 10 million people in 2019.

The nature of this type of ‘big picture’ analysis also glosses over the different impact that each scenario has on individual African countries. Space does not allow for much detail but the countries that get the largest average income increase in the Sustainable World are Eswatini, Botswana, Namibia, Egypt and Côte d’Ivoire — all seeing a more than US$7 000 increase in GDP per capita in 2043 compared to Africa’s current development forecast. Countries that gain the least are Sudan, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, the Central African Republic and Burundi. However, Sierra Leone and Burundi are among the five countries that will experience the largest percentage point decline in extreme poverty in 2043, reflecting the complex trade-offs in considering the impact of particular scenarios.

These caveats aside, the outcome of the four scenarios in Africa as a whole are starkly divergent. The size of the world economy will increase to US$188 trillion by 2043 in the Growth World scenario, closely followed by the Sustainable World scenario at US$185 trillion but with significant differences in the number of extremely poor people globally, the majority of whom will, however, be in sub-Saharan Africa. A Divided World would result in global economic output at US$172 trillion in 2043. A World at War scenario results in a world economy producing a combined GDP of US$155 trillion in 2043 with Africa growing particularly slowly in spite of its much larger population.

While Africa gains more in the Sustainable World than in the Growth World, both in the size of the African economy (see Chart 10) and in average GDP per capita terms (see Chart 11), the reverse is true for the rest of the world.

The difference comes at a high price: in the Growth World, carbon emissions do not peak within the forecast horizon and continue to increase beyond 2043, at which point carbon emissions from fossil fuels are at 10.4 billion tons of carbon. The result is more severe global warming than in any other scenario. Even though the global economy in the World at War scenario is significantly smaller, this scenario has the second highest carbon emissions in 2043 at 10.2 billion tons due to the associated increase in fossil fuel use as a portion of total energy. Conversely, emissions in the Divided World scenario peak at 9.9 billion tons in 2030 and decline to 9.3 billion tons per annum by 2043. As the name suggests, in the Sustainable World scenario, emissions peak earlier, in 2029, and lower, at 9.8 billion tons of carbon, and decline to 8.9 billion tons by 2043, continuing to steadily decline thereafter. The carbon emissions are presented in Chart 12.

Globally, the extreme poverty rate will decline rapidly to 2.2% in the Sustainable World and be highest in the World at War scenario at 6.3%, equivalent to 206 million and 607 million people, respectively. In all scenarios, the largest portion of the extremely poor population will be in Africa, reflected in Chart 13, where poverty rates could be 20.8% (World at War scenario) or 5.8% (Sustainable World scenario).

In the Sustainable World scenario, inequality in Africa decreases by 4 percentage points between 2019 and 2043 in spite of rapid growth — the most among the four scenarios. The scenario increases gender empowerment and greater participation of women in the workforce, leading to better outcomes on the Gini and other indices that reflect income distribution.

The key characteristics for each of the African scenarios that are associated with the four global scenarios are summarised in Chart 14.

Following various seminars, the current global trajectory, and that in Africa, is essentially towards a Divided World. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has accelerated global divisions, given its frontal assault on global norms on the use of force by a permanent member of the UN Security Council that is, ironically, mandated to ensure international peace and security. Views differ, however. Westerners are typically more pessimistic than people from Asia, which is understandable since power and economic weight will continue to shift towards Asia in all four scenarios. Still, a lot depends on what happens between the US and the EU, the choices made by India, the extent to which China and Russia cement a potential alliance, and who joins them.

Irrespective of the scenario, Africa will be the only region still struggling with extreme poverty in 2043 and will do poorly in the World at War scenario. A closed, rigidly divided world (the World at War and even the Divided World) will not benefit Africa. Africa did not do well during the Cold War, and instability increased significantly in the years leading up to the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Furthermore, the choices made in areas such as digital sovereignty will have a long-term impact. Does Africa pursue an approach with an emphasis on the rights of the individual on the one hand, as is the case in Europe, or the prioritisation of the collective interests of the state on the other, as is the case for China? Or does Africa allow for private sector competition that drives costs down and allows the continent to pursue the least-cost solution (such as the approach of the US) which leaves little room for Africa’s own private sector? Procurement choices on digital infrastructure could, for example, create a particular path dependency with geopolitical implications. African governments with low state capacity, large youthful populations and characterised by insecurity may, for instance, prefer the state-centred stability approach of the sovereignty of China over the EU’s orientation towards individual rights and democratic freedoms.

Africa will significantly close the gap with other regions in the Sustainable World scenario regarding electricity access, literacy rates, the human development index (HDI) and malnourishment, although it will still rank at the bottom compared to others. Higher life expectancy, better literacy rates and education follow. In contrast to the Growth World, the Sustainable World balances large economic gains with greater equality and a smaller carbon footprint.

Given its marginal position in the global economy but a large and growing population and the impact of climate change on Africa, the Growth World scenario and its associated high carbon emissions are not advantageous to Africa. The World at War is a lose-lose scenario for all countries, and the current trajectory towards a Divided World constrains Africa’s growth and development. Our analysis indicates that Africa’s ‘development potential’ in the Divided World scenario is only 84% of that in the Sustainable World, using GDP per capita as an indicator. Extreme poverty in Africa will be 187% higher in 2043 when comparing the World at War with the Sustainable World.

In material power terms (using GPI or the DiME Index), Africa remains a minor player in international affairs, regardless of the scenario — and the reader is reminded about the large number of African countries that constitute the continent, meaning that the effective exercise of ‘African’ power is invariably lower than the sum of all countries. For example, the tripling of Africa’s GDP in the Sustainable World scenario means Africa will see its share of global power increase by 3 percentage points to more than 8% of the global total in 2043, using the DiME Index.

Still, as a collective, the African continent could carry more weight towards the middle of the 21st century in the Sustainable World scenario. If the African Union could speak with one voice globally and maintain that unity, Africa would become a swing region with significant soft and discourse power mainly because of its large numbers.

Wildcards: Great power implosion and climate change

The four scenarios presented in this study and the associated African scenarios for each could be upended by any number of developments, particularly the impact of a great power implosion.

In How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them,[26BF Walter, How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them, New York: Penguin Random House, 2022.] Barbara F Walter presents internal conflict and competition within big powers as one of the gravest threats to global peace, particularly the increased likelihood of a second civil war in the US. Academic reviews of her work indicate that she has exaggerated the threat posed by political polarisation in the US. For example, Moyer, Matthews and others find that wealthier, politically consolidated states (all of which are democratic) typically have more civil conflict onset associated with minority repression than any other cluster of motivated variables.[27JD Moyer, AS Matthews, M Rafa and Y Xiong, Identifying Patterns in the Structural Drivers of Intrastate Conflict, British Journal of Political Science, 2022, 1–8, DOI: 10.1017/S0007123422000229.]

The US is already starkly divided and increasingly violent, as seen in January 2021 with the effort at an unconstitutional power grab after Donald Trump lost the presidential elections. Should Trump or someone of his populist orientation be elected in 2024, the US will be in deep trouble and the potential of a Western alliance to constrain China’s growing power and influence will not be realised. A continuation of Trump’s previous policies will also strengthen the hand of autocrats everywhere, China in particular. It will accelerate the trend toward a Divided World or even the World at War scenario.

A variant of great power implosion in China and Russia would likely follow democratisation in either or both. While change in these countries, North Korea, and the democratisation of oil-rich Middle Eastern countries, may be desirable from a normative perspective, all are likely to come with considerable negative economic consequences. The correlation between income and democracy is contested, but according to a significant body of work, democracy becomes very likely beyond certain levels of income.[28See, for example, D Acemoglu, S Johnson and P Yared, Income and Democracy, American Economic Review, 98:3, 2008, 808–842; and Y Che, Y Lu, Z Tau and P Wang, The Impact of Income on Democracy Revisited, Journal of Comparative Economics, 41:1, 2012, 159–169] If that theory holds, the Chinese Communist Party will soon be in deep trouble. The democratisation of China (i.e. the replacement of the current authoritarian model by a political system based on individual choice) will almost inevitably be violent and economically disruptive, with substantive negative impacts globally, in Asia and on Africa.

Regional developments could also alter the world in substantive ways such as the breakup of the EU or a radical reduction in its membership. The UK has already left the EU and, at regular intervals, others threaten the same. The economy of the EU is currently larger than that of China, and it serves as an important advocate of a rules-based international order on matters ranging from consumer protection to human rights. A breakup of the EU will have significant adverse effects globally. On the other hand, substantial enlargement to include countries such as Turkey and a democratic Russia could unlock positive opportunities.

Should Asians set their differences aside, deepen their political cooperation and overcome the deep divisions between countries such as Japan, Korea and India with China, Asia would become globally dominant, and we could see a vastly different international order emerge. That is currently unlikely, however, given the tensions in China–India relations. Historically, two adjacent large powers compete rather than cooperate. Recent tendencies, such as a very public icy distance between the two countries' leaders in Kazakhstan in September 2022 with the first external visit by President Xi Jinping since the COVID-19 pandemic, reflect the tensions.

Finally, Europe recently experienced its worst drought in 500 years, much of Pakistan was under water, and portions of Africa are facing long-term distress with massive suffering and loss of life. The complex and unpredictable ways that climate change and other environmental crises are intertwined with development and security illustrate the manner in which the biosphere crisis can only be successfully addressed through international cooperation. Beyond Africa’s needs, the window for global action to respond to these challenges is closing.

The accelerated impact of climate change is undoubtedly the most significant threat to humanity, particularly in poorer regions with less capacity to cope. Catastrophic climate-change ‘tipping points’ are nearing — from surging sea levels as polar ice melts to spiking temperatures as methane escapes from permafrost — that would drive an unstoppable cycle of higher global temperatures and more melting. Africa is particularly vulnerable due to its weak adaptive capacity, high dependence on ecosystems for livelihoods and rain-fed agriculture. Currently, the continent is warming faster than the rest of the world, on average, and scientists warn that large portions of the continent may become uninhabitable by mid-century or earlier. Variations in rainfall are large, and extreme weather events are becoming more regular, obviously with large regional variations. Globally, the accelerated impact of climate change is the most likely driver that could unlock progress towards a Sustainable World.

The first opportunity for a global reset could be the landmark ‘Summit of the Future: multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow’,[29UN General Assembly, Seventy-sixth session, Agenda item 124: Strengthening of the United Nations system, A/76/L.87, 7 September 2022, Draft resolution submitted by the President of the General Assembly Modalities for the Summit of the Future.] scheduled in the General Assembly for September 2024, which has been billed as ‘the moment to agree on concrete solutions to challenges that have emerged or grown since 2015.’ The outcome document of the Summit will be an intergovernmental negotiated ‘Pact for the Future’ to reinvigorate multilateralism, boost the implementation of existing commitments, and restore trust between states. Much work lies ahead if 2024 is to see a global momentum towards the Sustainability World scenario.

Conclusion: For Africa — politics for development

Scenarios are not predictions. They are tools that help to frame alternative futures systematically and to enable a coherent discussion and analysis. Scenarios done using the traditional two-dimension analysis, in this case, the extent of global fracturing versus efforts at sustainability, present four divergent alternatives that then assist in the associated modelling and conceptualization. Reality will be much more complex and typically ends up somewhere in between. Done well, however, scenarios surface structural trends and the outcomes or effect of a different pathways or trends.

Our analysis started by presenting the recent history and likely forecasts of the distribution of material power and influence globally, focusing on China and the US. A second level of the analysis looked at a broader grouping with a Chinese–Russian axis core versus the West, on the other. In line with the more detailed analysis done by our colleagues at the Frederick S Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, we find that the power transition that would see China overtake the US as the most powerful country in the world will likely occur before mid-century. A larger group of countries that share individual aspirations (democracy, individual human rights, etc.), aka the West, will continue to dominate globally, however, and maintain a technological, wealth and a power advantage even over a Chinese–Russian axis for subsequent decades.

The emergence of China as the most powerful country will inevitably reshape global relations. However, given the combined material power of the West and China’s relative international isolation (it inspires fear rather than attraction and has tense relations in its neighbourhood), this trend could culminate in efforts towards an alternative global order that is distinct from the so-called liberal international order. More likely is the evolution thereof. With important exceptions related to Western-style democracy and participatory governance, China’s behaviour is increasingly conforming to and integrating with global standards and norms on good governance even as Asia partly ‘decouples’ from the rest of the world. Examples of Chinese integration with the existing rules and norms include the extent to which its actions on debt relief for Africa today is to collaborate with the international financial institutions rather than operate outside them, and the steady adoption of best project standards in the infrastructure build that is part of its Belt and Road Initiative. In that future Africa will geographically straddle a Western dominated Atlantic to its north and west and an Indian and Pacific Ocean zone eastward, with China at its core but contested areas of influence eminating from India and others.

A number of developments could disrupt this broad structural trend, namely great power implosion in China (most likely as a result of pressures towards democracy) or the US (as internal political divisions widen), or the contraction or the expansion of the EU (through, for example, inclusion of Turkey or a democratic Russia). Deeper regional integration in Asia, the accelerated impact of climate change, the felations between the US and the EU, and India’s foreign policy orientations are likely to determine the nature of the subsequent global order.

Debates on power and influence, such as that set out above, tend to focus on so-called ‘great powers’ or the ‘states that make the most difference,[30K Waltz, Theory of International Politics, New York: Random House, 1979, 73.]’ which does not include any African country. That is typical and occurs despite the large populations of a country such as Nigeria, which, by 2043, would have a population close to 400 million people making it the third most populous country globally. On its current development trajectory, almost a third of Nigeria’s population will still live in extreme poverty. Instead of 120 million extremely poor people, Nigeria could, by 2043, have only 44 million extremely poor people in the Sustainable World scenario — 11% instead of 31% of its population. In considering these numbers, the reader is reminded that the intention is, throughout, to model the maximum or development ceiling for various African countries. Reality (the 11% in this instance) will inevitably be more modest.

Even if no African country emerges as a major ‘power player’, the distribution of power in the 21st century does make the bed in which African states sleep. The issue for Africa is if that bed facilitates more rapid development. The international community should be confronted with the same issue, since it is unlikely that global stability is possible given the large disparities in wealth, incomes, health and education between Africa and neighbouring regions such as Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Against this background, Africa’s leaders need to be cognisant of the limited space for the continent's development and the uphill battle to realise the Sustainable World scenario as set out in this report. Africa’s foreign policy and development efforts should unequivocally support the policies and approaches that would advance this ‘best of world’ objective, through greater convergence and stronger, more effective continental institutions, which support and sustain Africa’s aspirations and values as enshrined in Agenda 2063. There is considerable scope in this regard by, for example, upgrading the African Governance Platform into a binding legal protocol similar to that of the Peace and Security Council, rationalising the plethora of AU-related institutions that litter the continent but provide little or no added value (such as a toothless Pan-African Parliament), strengthening the relationship between the PSC and the A3 - the acronym for the three African countries that serve on the UN Security Council, etc. The priority for the continent is maximising sustainable development prospects, and for the evolution of an associated next-generation rules-based global system.

Largely a Western creation, in its current form, the rules-based order constrained armed conflict between major powers during the Cold War era. However, the result of that containment was several proxy wars in Africa and elsewhere, and it has not facilitated Africa’s development since it is largely premised on maintaining a global structure that skews developmental advantages to the already rich and allowed the developed world to spew sufficient carbon into the atmosphere that now constrains a simillar development pathway for others. For all the progress that globalisation has unlocked, such as through trade and knowledge transfers, the current global rules-based system inevitably embeds privilege. A world with five permanent seats and a veto within the UN Security Council is regularly touted as the most glaring example of the huge global ramifications. There is much that needs to change.

AU member states, therefore, need to focus on pursuit of a facilitating environment for more rapid growth and poverty alleviation, even as the commitment to national development by ruling elites is absent in Equatorial Guinea, South Sudan, Eswatini and others, in addition to a clutch of West African countries that have recently fallen victim to military takeovers. It is, therefore, not clear that the achievement of the Agenda 2063 vision is one to which all African leaders are committed. Key African states need to decide if they wish to bring all countries on board in creating that facilitating environment or they are willing to embark upon a two-track approach where some countries commit earlier to higher standards of governance than others. There have been many attempts previously to achieve exactly this such as the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA), NEPAD and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), pointing to the many hurdles to such a strategy. The differentiated approach in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement goes some way in this direction, but much more is required. Practically it is simply not possible to consider that countries in the Sahel, for example, are currently viable partners in regional integration or perhaps even many matters relating to better governance. Taking this forward will require a different approach to one that seeks to herd each and every African country towards a common goal.

In the meanwhile, the current trajectory towards a Divided World places a cap on Africa’s development potential. Compared to the Sustainable World, Africa will release 4% more carbon by 2043, GDP per capita will be at least 6% lower, and extreme poverty will be at 48% higher, reflected in Chart 16.

Hastening this trend, the war in Ukraine and the fear of China’s rising influence are having significant collateral damage effects. The West needs to make a sharp differentiation between China and Russia and resist simplistic narratives that pit a benevolent West against bad China associated with evil Russia in Africa.

There is, simply put, no strategic profit to be gained by the ongoing demonisation of China in the US and Europe. The Chinese Communist Party will not abandon its collectivist views on politics and development as much as democratic countries will not abandon a belief in individual freedoms and political rights. Nor can the West constrain China’s momentum towards great power status. What is needed is a determined effort to rebuild relations between the West and China to one of mutual respect and acknowledgement of the differences in approaches to development and governance.

Africa can continue to seek profit from playing the West off against China as it has in the past, which is likely the default position on the current global trajectory towards a Divided World. Such an opportunistic approach has clear limitations, however. What ultimately matters is what Africans decide and do themselves daily. In contributing to Africa Tomorrow, Cobus van Staden [31C van Staden, Why the stories Africa tells itself are key to its future, Africa Tomorrow blog, 22 September 2022] cogently argues that this is more urgent concerning China, which presents the largest opportunities.

‘Bluntly put,’ he writes, ‘if Africa wants positive outcomes from China, it needs to be more hard-nosed, more prepared, more ruthless than the Chinese. This means coming to the negotiating table with the same international legal teams as Chinese contractors, being similarly uncompromising in contract language, being willing to walk away from deals if they do not serve inclusive development goals and cracking down hard on any labour or environmental abuses by foreign companies. … It means withdrawing African buy-in from geopolitical “New Cold War” narratives and only indulging these powers to the extent that they serve African purposes.’ Africa should not commit to foreign policy support on specific matters where its interests are not directly at stake.

The time for unreasonable confidentiality clauses and political conditionality is past. Choosing to side with China, Russia, the US or Europe on matters that are not of direct concern to Africa or playing the one off against the other serves no purpose.

Developmentally minded African governments should commit to a minimum set of project transparency and implementation requirements (such as public consultation and environmental standards) that applies across the board, for all companies and countries that invest in the participating African countries. The requirements should be be clear, simple and public, with all subsequent agreements disclosed and available upon request and buttressed in a binding legal protocol that is followed by domestic enactment and implementation.

It is self-evident that coordinated positions among Africa’s leading countries on key matters such as foreign investment, particularly in the mining sector, as regards beneficiation and transparency would maximise the ability to shape the international rules to the advantage of the participating countries. Strengthening Africa’s own investment and financing models, with outside support where appropriate, would boost the continent's fortunes.

Looking to the West, what Africa needs is for Western governments to find ways to de-risk investment by its banks and the private sector in the continent. Ultimately, low investments are driven by colonial-era hangovers and negative perceptions that have been deeply ingrained in a Western world that has provided a drip-feed of aid to Africa since the 1960s. Europeans and Americans regularly berate Africans for their lack of development in return for this payment, much of which was to buy loyalty during the Cold War, without sufficient recognition that the amounts and modalities are insufficient to change fundamentals such as Africa’s poor human capital endowment that could unlock more rapid growth.

Instead, most Africans see aid as a nominal tax paid for past injustices and an international system skewed against the continent's development. Western rating agencies play a significant role in this regard. They have, for decades, adopted a punitive approach to investment in Africa compared to other regions, driven by the private sector’s demand for a secure investment, and a lack of knowledge of the continent based on a trickle of negative reporting from a sprinkling of Western news reporters located in Nairobi or Cape Town. Changing these perceptions requires ongoing engagement, communication and much greater visibility of Africa’s development efforts in Europe and North America. It requires massive student exchange programmes, regular trade fairs and political dialogue — not only visits when gas from Russia runs dry or to counter China’s growing influence in Africa.

Much more important for Africa than aid is a reset in the relations between the West and China as set out previously. The current trajectory towards a Divided World will likely accelerate the continent’s myriad ongoing and emergent challenges. It is evident in the extent to which Moscow has already been able to lever its limited assets in energy, arms and military cooperation to pursue an anti-Western agenda in Africa to the detriment of stability and development. Africans need to take political and diplomatic action to avoid further collaleral damage.

China, Europe and the US are Africa’s most important development partners, much as the continent’s trade is increasing with other countries in the global South. Africa desperately needs Chinese loans, investment and domestic manufacturing contributions, in addition to what the US and the EU are able to offer under their various initiatives such as the US’s Build Back Better World, the EU’s Global Gateway, and the G7’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment. Chinese companies already build 60% of World Bank projects, and the West does not have the tools to replace that supply but has many other things to offer including technology, investment standards, data protection standards and expertise in project management. Above all, the West sits atop of dam of potential investment monies that, if the sluice gates were to be opened, could change Africa’s prospects for the better.

Beyond Africa’s development needs, the accelerated impact of climate change will, almost inevitably, require an entirely different mindset and approach to the current trend towards a political economy of division. A separate theme, on climate change and energy, provides significant additional context and interpretation. It forecasts Africa’s likely energy transition as well as the Current Path forecast of carbon emissions and then the impact of twelve sectoral scenarios on carbon emissions ranging from an agricultural revolution to a manufacturing transition. Inevitably, those economic transitions with the highest growth content, such as the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, are accompanied by the largest increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Although emissions per capita in Africa are very low, the rapid growth in the continent’s population on top of expansion of electricity access and greater energy intensity as incomes rise, point to a continent that, by 2063, will emit more carbon than the European Union where emissions are set to decline. Much as Africa is not responsible for climate change, it will suffer disproportionately from the associated effects.

Amongst others it means that Africa needs to have a serious conversation about population growth if it is to economically grow more rapidly, improve the prospects for its young population and curb greenhouse gas emissions in its own and global interests. The theme on demographics elsewhere on this site explains that rapid population growth in many African countries is a both drag on development and, in the long term, will undermine global sustainability. Eventually only much deeper economic and political integration complemented by much more rapid and sustained economic growth in Africa could offset the continent’s limited role in shaping global orientations - but that needs to occur sustainably.

How do global players construct a collaborative rather than competitive global system that will enable humanity to survive and prosper in the long term, particularly in Africa? Some, such as Malloch-Brown [32M Malloch-Brown, Marshall Plan 2.0, Altamar podcast episode 134], argue that the Western model of democracy is on trial and what is required is a Marshall Plan 2.0 — a global commitment to invest an additional 2% of GDP accompanied by a massive global outreach campaign towards a relaunched multilateral system where the technocratic expertise of the international financial institutions is reorganised around an investment-oriented model of growth. Time will tell if the 2024 UN Summit could unlock this promise and if global leaders will partner with Africans in pursuit of the sustainable development of the continent.

Name

Description

Group

Intervention

Divided World

carbtax

Carbon tax dollars/ton

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 50 in 2033, maintain

gdsm

Government expenditure by destination multiplier (military)

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.5 in 2033, maintain

goveffectm

Government effectiveness multiplier on quality

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 0.95 in 2033

sfintlwaradd

State failure/internal war addition (probability)

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 0.15 in 2033

World at War

resorm

Resources of energy (fossil fuels) multiplier (oil)

World

In 2024 increase to 3 and maintain

resorm

Resources of energy (fossil fuels) multiplier (gas)

World

In 2024 increase to 3 and maintain

tfrm

Total fertility rate multiplier

World

10 year interpolate to 1.05 in 2033, maintain

protecm

Protectionism in trade, multiplier on import prices (total)

World

10 year interpolate to 1.2 in 2033, maintain

gdsm

Government expenditure by destination multiplier (military)

World

10 years interpolate to 2 in 2033, maintain

goveffectm

Government effectiveness multiplier on quality

World

10 years interpolate to 0.9 in 2033, maintain

govcorruptm

Government corruption multiplier

World

10 years interpolate to 0.8 in 2033, maintain

democm

Democracy level multiplier

World

10 years interpolate to 0.9 in 2033, maintain

sfintlwaradd

State failure/internal war addition (probability)

World

10 years interpolate to 0.3 in 2033

Growth World

resorm

Resources of energy (fossil fuels) multiplier (oil)

World except Africa

In 2024 increase to 1.1, maintain

resorm

Resources of energy (fossil fuels) multiplier (gas)

World except Africa

In 2024 increase to 1.1, maintain

invm

Investment in economy (total)

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.1 in 2033, maintain

protecm

Protectionism in trade, multiplier on import process (total)

World except Africa

10 year interpolate to 0.9 in 2033, maintain

xsm

Exports multiplier (total)

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.1 in 2033, maintain

firmtaxrm

Firm tax rate multiplier

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 0.9 in 2033, maintain

econfreem

Economic freedom multiplier

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.1 in 2033, maintain

Sustainable World

qem-Q

Capital cost to output ratio in energy multiplier (other renewables)

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.1 in 2033, maintain

tfrm

TFR multiplier

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 0.9 in 2033, maintain

forestm

Forest protection multiplier

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.005 in 2033, maintain

carbtax

Carbon tax dollars/ton

High-income economies

10 years interpolate to 200 in 2033, maintain

carbtax

Carbon tax dollars/ton

Upper middle-income economies

10 years interpolate to 150 in 2033, maintain

carbtax

Carbon tax dollars/ton

Lower middle-income economies

10 years interpolate to 100 in 2033, maintain

carbtax

Carbon tax dollars/ton

Low income economies

10 years interpolate to 50 in 2033, maintain

govhhtrnwelm

Government to household welfare transfers (unskilled)

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.2 in 2033, maintain

hhtaxrm

Household tax rate multiplier (skilled)

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.1 in 2033, maintain

gdsm

Government expenditure by destination multiplier (health)

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.1 in 2033, maintain

gdsm

Government expenditure by destination multiplier (education)

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.1 in 2033, maintain

aiddon

Aid (foreign) donations as % of GDP percent

World except Africa

Stabilise at 2024 levels (0.13878)

firmtaxrm

Firm tax rate multiplier

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.2 in 2033, maintain

goveffectm

Government effectiveness (quality) multiplier

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.1 in 2033, maintain

govcorruptm

Government corruption multiplier

World except Africa

10 years interpolate to 1.1 in 2033, maintain

 

 

 

Endnotes

  1. GPI shows each actor’s portion of global power. It does so by weighting each actor’s share of global GDP (at exchange rates or purchasing power parity), population, a measure of technological sophistication (with GDP per capita as a proxy), government size, military spending, conventional power, and nuclear power. The National Intelligence Council (the public arm of the US intelligence community) has regularly used GPI in its foresight publication on global trends produced for an incoming US president shortly before the start of his/her term. The most recent, Global Trends 2040, is available from the National Intelligence Council, March 2021.

  2. The DiME Index measures the general material capabilities of states for all members of the international system from 1960 to 2020 using economic production, population size, military investments and nuclear weapon counts, and diplomatic network variables, and then forecasts this measure using IFs. See JD Moyer, CJ Meisel, AS Matthews, DK Bohl and MJ Burrows, China-US competition: Measuring global influence, The Atlantic Council, May 2021. Also see JD Moyer, CJ Meisel and AS Matthews, Measuring and forecasting the rise of China: Reality over image, Journal of Contemporary China, 2022, 1–16, DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2022.2071879.

  3. Conceptually, the FBIC Index is a bilateral measure, where one country or a group of countries ‘sends’ its influence to another. The amount of traffic (such as trade and financial flows) between the two is termed the 'bandwidth’, and the extent to which if favours the sending or receiving state is termed the ‘dependence’. Together they measure how much one state influences the other. Countries with high levels of dependence (such as many African countries on trade with China) are more easily influenced, but FBIC also reflects the stock of influence that the West has built up in several centuries of engagement in Africa. See JD Moyer, CJ Meisel, AS Matthews, DK Bohl and MJ Burrows, China-US competition: Measuring global influence, The Atlantic Council, May 2021.

  4. The six breadbaskets are Eastern China, the Canadian prairies and US Midwest, Northern India, North-western Europe, Southern Russia and Ukraine, and Brazil/Argentina. See J Woetzel, D Pinner, H Samandari, H Engel, M Krishnan, N Denis and T Melzer, Will the world’s breadbaskets become less reliable?, McKinsey Global Institute, 18 May 2020.

  5. United Nations, Our Common Agenda, Report of the Secretary-General, 10 September 2021.

  6. JD Moyer, CJ Meisel and AS Matthews, Measuring and forecasting the rise of China: Reality over image, Journal of Contemporary China, 2022, 1–16, DOI: 10.1080/10670564.2022.2071879.

  7. Using FBIC. Currently the IFs system does not provide for a forecast of FBIC

  8. For a summary view on how Chinese and US influence in Africa has changed, see JD Moyer, CJ Meisel, As Matthews, DK Bohl and MJ Burrows, In brief: Fifteen takeaways from our new report measuring US and Chinese global influence, The Atlantic Council, 16 June 2021.

  9. Consisting of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, UK and the US.

  10. Consisting of Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

  11. M Beckley, China’s Century? Why America’s Edge Will Endure, International Security, Winter 2011, 36:3, 48.

  12. G Epstein and J McDermott, China in Africa, Special Report, The Economist, 28 May 2022.

  13. Built by Shanghai Construction Group (SCG), the project was fully funded by the Chinese government as ‘a gift to the people of Zimbabwe.’ The building is the second major infrastructure donation to Zimbabwe by China after Beijing constructed the country’s largest stadium in 1987. China is currently upgrading Zimbabwe’s largest thermal power station at an estimated cost of US$1.2 billion. It made a US$533 million refurbishment at the Kariba South power station, the country’s largest hydropower. K Nyathi, China gifts Zimbabwe a modern Parliament, 1 July 2022, The East African.

  14. See the collection of articles on regional and global relations on the Afrobarometer website.

  15. K Bartlett, Beijing Seeks Mediator Role in Turbulent Horn of Africa, Voice of America, 30 June 2022.

  16. K Cheng, The G7 is playing catch-up with China in Africa, Quartz Africa, 13 July 2022; J Leonard, A Nardellie and J Fabian, US Resuscitates Bid at G-7 to Counter China’s Belt and Road, 27 June 2022

  17. Africa in Fact newsletter

  18. Countries that had apparently expressed interest by 2022 include Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Venezuela and Nigeria.

  19. Russia and Iran are both under sanctions from the West and were military allies in the conflict in Syria. During July 2022, President Putin visited Iran and the two countries are expanding ties.

  20. China is globally the largest importer of liquified natural gas (LNG), 40% of which comes from Australia, which has difficult relations with China, and just over 10% comes from the US. Russia supplied between 170 and 200 billion cubic metres (BCM) of natural gas to Europe in recent years but the gas is extracted at different locations to those fields pumping to China with no pipelines connecting them. At the moment, there is only one pipeline with China, the Power of Siberia, which started to deliver gas in 2019 and has a capacity of around 38 BCM. Plans are underway to build four additional pipelines. Collectively, these would expand capacity between the two countries to over 100 BCM a year, equivalent to almost half of China’s needs.

  21. S Tabeta, China turns to Russian gas to curb dependence on Quad members, 12 March 2022, Nikkei Asia

  22. The New START treaty caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the US and Russia can deploy and limits the land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.

  23. China International Import Expo, China's booming foreign trade brings benefits to the world, 24 March 2021

  24. C van Staden, Green energy’s dirty secret: Its hunger for African resources, Foreign Policy, 30 June 2022

  25. EM Lederer, Security expert warns UN Africa could be future IS caliphate, 9 August 2022, The Washington Post

  26. BF Walter, How Civil Wars Start: And How to Stop Them, New York: Penguin Random House, 2022.

  27. JD Moyer, AS Matthews, M Rafa and Y Xiong, Identifying Patterns in the Structural Drivers of Intrastate Conflict, British Journal of Political Science, 2022, 1–8, DOI: 10.1017/S0007123422000229.

  28. See, for example, D Acemoglu, S Johnson and P Yared, Income and Democracy, American Economic Review, 98:3, 2008, 808–842; and Y Che, Y Lu, Z Tau and P Wang, The Impact of Income on Democracy Revisited, Journal of Comparative Economics, 41:1, 2012, 159–169

  29. UN General Assembly, Seventy-sixth session, Agenda item 124: Strengthening of the United Nations system, A/76/L.87, 7 September 2022, Draft resolution submitted by the President of the General Assembly Modalities for the Summit of the Future.

  30. K Waltz, Theory of International Politics, New York: Random House, 1979, 73.

  31. C van Staden, Why the stories Africa tells itself are key to its future, Africa Tomorrow blog, 22 September 2022

  32. M Malloch-Brown, Marshall Plan 2.0, Altamar podcast episode 134

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Cite this research

Jakkie Cilliers (2022) Africa in the World. Published online at futures.issafrica.org. Retrieved from https://futures.issafrica.org/thematic/16-africa-in-the-world/ [Online Resource] Updated 2 December 2022.