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Charles Robertson
Public spending on education will expand from $93 billion to $1,384 billion
by 2050, with the greatest impact on secondary schools. Primary-school enrol-
ment was already 96% in 2005. Surging demographics will mean primary-school
teacher numbers should rise from 4 million to 10 million. Secondary-school
enrolment should top 50% by 2020, and be close to 100% by 2050.
The two
billion of 2050 will be the best-educated and best-medically supported people
the continent has ever seen. Already by 2020, Renaissance expects a 72% real
increase in healthcare and 69% rise in education expenditure from today’s levels.
Those of a nervous disposition may be reassured that security will have im-
proved, too. Already the riskiest countries are clustered in Latin America, the
Caribbean and the Middle East—not Africa, where conflict has decreased sig-
nificantly since the Cold War era. Pan-African defence spending was only around
$34bn in 2011,
not quite enough to buy four US aircraft carriers. By 2050 the
figure would be $471 billion, if defence spending is maintained at the current
SSA share of 1.6% of GDP. But we would not be surprised if the figure is lower.
The vast majority of countries will be democratic, and as democracies do not
need to go to war with each other, governments should be able to spend more on
much-needed infrastructure improvements.
Today we count 31 democracies across the continent, some strong and
immortal, but many fragile and still vulnerable. Renaissance expects 50 de-
mocracies by 2050, with just a few autocratic, energy-rich exporters left that
are wealthy enough to buy off their middle class. As soon as 2013, South Africa
will join a few others such as Botswana and Mauritius above the key $10,000
per capita GDP level above which no democracy has ever died. Most of Africa
will have crossed the same threshold to join them by 2050. Democratisation
is an inevitable march, one which may not be as loud as the boots of soldiers
interrupting this trend, but will nonetheless show steady progress. Morocco and
Swaziland are likely to be the next to democratise within 10 years.
Corruption will not have disappeared by 2050. Neither democracy nor high
per capita income are sufficient for all countries to achieve the near-perfect
scores that Finland or New Zealand regularly record in Transparency Interna-
tional surveys. Yet already Africa surprises by having 14 countries that are less
corrupt than per capita GDP implies they should be, and only seven that are
Unless otherwise cited, projections throughout this book are attributed to Renaissance
Capital Research.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Yearbook: Armaments, Disar-
mament and International Security.