Africa is one of the world’s least developed continents, with many of its countries still crippled by issues including poverty, government corruption and armed conflict, gender inequality, struggling educational and healthcare systems, and underdeveloped or old infrastructure, to name a few. The UN has a Human Development Index (HDI), which measures whether a country is most developed, developing, or least developed. This study is compiled based on a wide range of indicators such as Adult Literacy Rate, Life Expectancy, Mobile Phone Subscriptions, etc. The scores for this are between 0.00 (least developed) to 1.00 (most developed).
In Africa, the countries considered ‘most developed’ rank between 0.686 (Morocco - developing) and 0.804 (Mauritius - most developed), which showcases how much work still needs to be done to move the scores higher. How do we promote growth in Southern African countries and move the bar from least developed to most? In this article, we will take a look at how we can assist developing Southern African regions in an effort to build and develop African countries.
In order for African countries to be developed and move at the same pace as some of the most developed countries in the world, there are many factors that need to be tended to. From healthcare to education, justice system to politics and governance, unemployment and more. Change cannot happen without any form of plan of action, and organisations (public and private) are urged to collaborate with the government (from municipal to national) on creating these projects. Here’s a look at some areas that need tackling:
The education sector in many African regions needs work. While it is incredibly important to start investing in quality public education, there are a few other factors under education that need attention. These include; assisting academically distinguished children and pupils with the right tools to realise their potential, promoting and enacting safety measures in schools, offering health facilities as well as healthy meals, and overall improving the curriculum. There is also merit in investing in adult education programmes for the adults who need to mend the education gap they suffered in their earlier lives due to other issues we will discuss further. Programmes, government initiatives and proper investments need to be taken seriously in ensuring local regions get the educational upgrades they need.
Every pandemic showcases how much work each country's health sector needs to get done to deal with it, and the recent Covid-19 pandemic posed many threats to Southern African countries. While countries like South Africa were praised for how they managed to control lockdown protocol and the pandemic at large, they challenged the health sector of this country and other surroundings that needed to be curbed. Essential healthcare insurance should be accessible to all. This will help ease the burden of having poor people worry about paying unaffordable amounts of money for their healthcare, as well as ensure there is enough space for both private and public healthcare sectors to cater for patients.
Safety And Security
Every year, the Institute of Economy and Peace publishes the Global Peace Index, which indicates how safe or dangerous a country is. This is done by compiling data under indicators such as; political terror, deaths from internal conflict, and murder rate, to name a few, which are then grouped into three categories – Safety and Security, Ongoing Conflict, and Militarization. A few factors used include:
- External and internal violence in the country
- Level of district and political instability
- Potential terrorist acts
- Number of homicides
- Gender based violence statistics
Countries are ranked by the five peace levels; very high, high, medium, low, and very low. Three of the Southern African countries are sitting below the average bar when it comes to this index’s scoring, and this issue is one of the many holding regions and countries back from progressing. The issue of safety needs to be addressed across the board and immediately as many Southern African citizens fall victim to violent crimes, gender-based violence, and police brutality, to name a few. Accountability and initiative should be taken to create stricter laws against criminals, protect the areas most prone to safety and security compromises, and create safer spaces for all to live.
Economic Growth And Employment
Southern African countries are also crippled by lack of employment opportunities. Unemployment affects many regions and countries, causing mental health challenges, increase in crime, lower economic productivity, and more. While the results of unemployment are dire, the causes are just as bad. In many countries, it is the lack of education and skills, the inability to qualify for certain jobs, and corruption that tend to be part of the factors creating unemployment. However, as the world shifts into a digital, sustainable and evolved world, many opportunities are opening up. Government, public and private companies need to collaborate to create upskilling opportunities in order to make more citizens employable. Upgrading regions is also another way to drive toward employment opportunities. If we are building roles, we need construction workers; if we are building a hospital, we need construction workers and healthcare practitioners, and so forth. The more we work towards fixing other issues, the better it becomes for unemployed South African citizens.
How Can We Help
As a development finance institution, we understand that there are organisations that support the work being done to ensure that certain issues are curbed. Together we can all ensure that Southern African countries are driven towards development, and we play our part by helping corporations secure funding to make this and more happen. We believe in working together to achieve an advanced world.