Is Africa ‘Rising’ or ‘Falling’?

The question is not which narrative is true, but which will win?

Is Africa rising or falling? Over the last 50 years, the answer to this question has been debated and examined from every angle. Even today there exist vastly different views on what Africa’s future holds. At the heart of this discussion are more than 1 billion men, women, and children living within 54 nations that form the world’s most vibrant continent.

In recent years, conversations about African prosperity have become increasingly optimistic. And this optimism is supported by evidence.

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Four Lessons From a Social Entrepreneur

News headlines are replete with stories of a growing youth bulge and impending youth unemployment crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the bad news. However, many social entrepreneurs are at work even now creating solutions to these types of challenges—a sort of counter-balance that shapes fortune out of misfortune. And within Africa, innovators are stepping up to the challenge of affecting behavior and pattern change with a deep understanding of the context of their communities’ problems. Young Africa (YA) founder Dorien Beurskens and her partner Raj A. Joseph are part of a wave of social entrepreneurs who are identifying root causes for the youth employment challenges in Africa and developing innovative solutions, which place the needs, assets, and priorities of the youth and the wider community at the forefront.  

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Clean Data for Cleaner Cookstoves

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Globally, slightly fewer than 3 billion people cook their daily meals on inefficient devices fueled by charcoal or firewood. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change estimates that only 10 percent of the energy in the fuel is utilized to cook, so much more fuel is consumed than is needed. In addition, the low combustion temperature in the inefficient technologies results in only partial combustion of the fuel, releasing particulate and carbon monoxide emissions, among other pollutants.

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Mobile Money in the Democratic Republic of Congo

A large portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) economy consists of small businesses, and most of them operate exclusively in cash. With only 4 percent of adults in DRC having an account at a formal financial institution, alternatives such as mobile money are key to improving the efficiency and security of small business payments.

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