But if mobile phones, renewable energy, and the innovation that grows from access to information can empower millions more people along the way, so much the better.Policy, leadership, and institutions will ultimately play a bigger role than technology has in Africa’s continued development.
More importantly, what about the more fundamental challenges whose solutions have remained beyond the reach of technology? Access to water, sanitation, and food, infrastructure like roads and bridges, and freedom from violent conflict all must be present before progress can take off in the above-mentioned industries.
Even as countries tackle these issues, population growth could toss the biggest wrench into the spokes of continued progress. Though Sub-Saharan Africa’s poverty rate declined by 13 percent between 1990 and 2013, the absolute number of people living in poverty actually rose by 113 million.