China had its economic boom… and this year saw its population peak at 1.4 billion and shrinking. India is in the middle of its economic boom… passing up China’s population with another 1.4 billion population, but with that population growth slowing down.
Africa is the other place on earth with 1.4 billion people. Not a single country, but 54 countries, but also an area far larger than China and India combined, and with a population that will double to 2.5 billion by 2050.
In terms of economics, Africa will see its economic boom this decade through at least 2050 due to this demographic dividend. They’ll be more working-age Africans in the coming decade than anywhere else on the planet, and given the current levels of poverty across Africa, these will be the lowest cost workforce.
Much of what drove China’s boom was offshoring America’s manufacturing to China, driven primarily by low-cost labor. As China’s population shrinks, it will soon become economically advantageous to pack up those factories and move them across the Indian Ocean to Nairobi, Mombasa, Kampala, Dar es Salaam, Addis Ababa, and elsewhere in East Africa, if not skipping straight to Lagos and Accra and Abidjan to more conveniently serve the markets in Europe and America.
The headline in the chart above talks about an additional 796 million workers, but don’t overlook the total 1.5 billion working-age Africans projected for 2050. More workers than the whole populations of either China or India today.
So beyond manufacturing and offshoring services, I’m excited to see what those 75,000-150,000 entrepreneurs (5%-10%) create as that inevitable economic book takes hold.