Hamisi Kigwangalla, Member of Parliament in Tanzania on why Sub-Saharan Africa didn’t experience an ‘African Spring’:
One of the key mobilisation tools of the middle class – technology – is also not so readily available in sub-Saharan Africa. The limited access to technology in most countries on the continent has made it difficult for modern communication channels like email, Listservs, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp to be used to share information and mobilise people for mass protests.
Thoughtful piece that kept me thinking about my earlier article in Globe and Mail about Africa’s fading gerontocracy. The remaining “Hippo Generation” firmly sits atop the 3% of the continent’s demography older than 58 – Africa’s average life expectancy. By the time Africa’s youth – 500 million under the age of 15 – mobilizes digitally, change will already be under as the autocrats die out.
Perhaps the above digital applications will play a central role in how Africa prepares for a post-autocracy future. As the subcontinent moves from the analog village to digital assembly in the global village, will the pressing issue be a change in the political landscape or preoccupation with adapting to digital lifestyles?
The unexplored issue for me is going to be the fast shift in the demography of Africa’s middle class. As the youth bulge gets older every year, it firmly pushes up against and into the middle class, skewing it younger and younger. With that will be a change in priorities. What those priorities will be and how fast they are addressed will determine if Sub-Saharan Africa experiences a its very own rebirth.