Why Africa’s Development Models must Change: Understanding Five Dynamic Trends

Current models used to analyse African development don’t align with the continent’s context and dynamics, and need to be overhauled. Approaches should explicitly consider the defining characteristic of African economics, namely its wide-ranging informality that lies beyond existing legal frameworks. In doing so, five trends must be considered, namely climate change, rapid urbanisation, epidemic/pandemic vulnerabilities, immense infrastructure deficits, and the lawlessness that also gives rise to violent extremism. This report first discusses current development trends in Africa and highlights how existing development theories and methodologies have not appropriately understood or addressed the tenuous nature of development on the continent. The following sections briefly analyse each of the five dynamic trends, before exploring how they interact and affect each other. After assessing the trends’ combined influence on the three continental-wide structural factors, the report concludes by suggesting a way forward for development decision-makers, policymakers and practitioners.