Africa is far from overcoming the aftermath of colonization and the existence of predatory national oligarchies, driven by the greed of multinationals and debt-generating mechanisms. In a context of strong and uneven demographic growth, we can say that "Africa will continue to be ill", adapting a sentence by René Dumont
1- The painful integration of postcolonial Africa into global capitalism
2 - Demographic profile of African geopolitical areas
2.1 - North Africa
2.2 - Africa - Anchors
2.3 - Africa - remaining countries (43)
1- The painful integration of postcolonial Africa into global capitalism
The African population grew by 60 per cent in the period 1950-70, 73 per cent in the 20 years between 1970 and 1990, doubles in the 30 years ending in 2010, being estimated that by 2050 it will more than ten times higher than the population existing a century before, that is, about 2500 M people. All this happens because mortality has fallen, as well as the birth rate - especially the infant - despite the wars, the bloody and protracted conflicts in many parts of the continent, with interventions by the ex-colonial powers, multinationals, the financial system through the debt mechanism or the clear interference of other powers. The growth of the African population's weight in the world has been constant as it has been observed recently.
There is a varied and interwoven classification of causes in African conflicts. Africa, like the Middle East, are the regions with the most frequent and bloody conflicts in the last twenty years. Many are (or were) the result of tribal conflicts, where the idea of nation-state did not exist (essentially South Sahel) but imposed by the colonial powers before leaving the land; the direct conflicts between constituted nation-states are rarer.
This relative stability of the frontiers inherited from colonial times reveals, precisely, the absence of a state tradition and hence for Africans, it is relatively indifferent to the tracing of frontiers, crossed as naturally as ever by people.
There have not been, and there are not, wars that have taken place in Europe, in which nationalism has taken root in the macabre idea of the nineteenth century that every nation should correspond to a nation state, all judging themselves with rights to territories on the other side of their frontiers, often taken as provisional. After the Second World War, in Europe, the only border wars occurred in the context of the dismantling of Yugoslavia or, more recently, with the Russian annexation of the Crimea and the de facto separation of the eastern regions of Ukraine (Donetsk and Lugansk), in the scope of state entities with frontiers of recent constitution. The constitution of the European Union and the Schengen area have taken away meaning from borders, and new wars of territorial conquest are not imaginable.
In Africa, the idea of respecting the colonial frontiers, however aberrant they might have been, was accepted in the scene of decolonization, with some bloody exceptions. For example, Ethiopia and Eritrea were separated after years of war; the same happened in Sudan where the south, mostly populated by Nilotic and non-Muslim peoples, separated from the north, with Arab and Islamic preponderance, in a process of sharing of oil deposits not yet complete and prolonged in South Sudan by a war between the two main tribes (Dinkas and Nuer).
In the process of colonization, Somalia was divided up by France, Great Britain and Italy and, in a second phase, the last two parcels joined in a single state, being the small Gallic part (the small Djibouti, now curdled with bases of foreign military rivals) later acceding to independence. Meanwhile, Somalia and Ethiopia went to war for control of Ethiopian East (Ogaden) populated by Somali herders, with the defeat of Somalia. Later on, the Somali civil war originated, on the one hand, the secession of the northern part (Somaliland, the old British colony) against the greater part of the country, to the south where a civil war continues.
It is interesting to note the political sensitivity of the United States. In 1993 they decided to disembark in Somalia in order to impose the law and the order of the Empire, before the television cameras; but the operation ended badly with dead marines dragged down the streets of Mogadishu. After this setback, the Pentagon, in its high wisdom, pushed to pacify Somalia ... the Ethiopian army that had been at war with Somalia a few years earlier, in addition to old rivalries. As things went bad for the Ethiopians, the US enticed the neighbors to the south, the Kenyans to pacify Somalia; and from where they resulted, in Kenyan territory, attacks that the Somali al-Shaabab came to unleash. At the same time, the diffuse but wise "international community" has decided to stop merchant ships in Somali waters from assaulting communities of hungry fishermen and water contaminated by hospital waste dumped by Westerners. In this effort, it is known that a Portuguese frigate seized a rubber boat  with half a dozen Somalis on board and in international waters; a heroic intervention that must have given rise to half a ton of medals and awards ...
Also in the case of Western Sahara, the colonial borders were not respected. First, because Morocco occupied the territory that Spain abandoned to its fate; that is, gave carte blanche to the master of the Makhzen, to seize the concession of fishing rights and phosphates, leading to the flight of part of the population to refugee camps in Algeria, given the lack of interest of the "international community" and the impotence of the UN.
Among the wars of independence, there are those carried out in Kenya, Algeria, Guinea Bissau, Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
The inheritance of the colonial frontiers was embodied in the invention of nation-states, in most cases where they had never existed, as mosaics of ethnicities and cultures. Without the unifying and repressive presence of the colonial power, internal conflicts of various kinds arose between groups or warlords based on their tribes, albeit without secessionist objectives but only to control the state apparatus. These include Angola, DR Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Mozambique, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan (Darfur) or Uganda.
There are typical cases of extractivism and banditry (ivory business) such as that of the Lord's Army in Uganda, with incursions abroad; and the ruthless groups in eastern Congo, who are masters of the extraction and export of diamonds and "rare earths" that rival the historical predation practiced by the Lords of Kinshasa, be it Mobutu or the Kabila family, heirs of a territory that the colonial powers, in the 19th century delivered to a criminal, the king of the Belgians. And the genocidal practices carried out in Rwanda, where only a demented local ability - encouraged by the Belgian colonizer - could distinguish Tutsis from Hutus or vice versa cannot be forgotten; knowing that this distinction has more of a sociological than ethnic-cultural character, it has been used for a redistribution of lands where the population density is great.
The secessionist examples recalled above were successful, but there were some that were not, such as the Biafra case that was cherished by the Portuguese fascist regime, by France and oil companies that tried the independence from Nigeria, with a hunger ballast that became famous. Catanga, in the 1960s, was the object of a secessionist project around Tchombé, a marionette of mining companies that worked in the region and with great friends in the Portuguese fascist government. Cabinda is another case that has been dragging on for decades, with no results favouring secessionists. And the post-colonial unification project between Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde was ephemeral, with the separation done peacefully.
Today, in Mali, there is a conflict anchored in an al Qaeda branch (the AQMI) that is developing a project of separation of the Tuareg population, divided between several nation states that seldom, in history, had suffered restrictions of circulation in the desert, in communications between the Sahel and the Mediterranean. Libya, where Western intervention for the sharing of the country's energy wealth has led to the revival of differences and conflicts between Cyrenaica, Tripolitania and the southern tribes, with ancestral affinities with the Tuareg world.
The civil war in Algeria in the 1990s is a typical case of social and political struggle, where ethnic and cultural cleavages have not played a decisive role. On the one hand, there was the power of the FLN, which remains in power after the war of independence against the French; and on the other, an Islamic fundamentalist group - the FIS - that entered the armed struggle after an electoral clarification was blocked. In this context, barbarism and killings have, as usual, hit the general population.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, the racist regime of apartheid was abolished under the aegis of the wise figure of Mandela. However, the black bourgeoisie, assuming political power, also shifted to the world of business, in parallel with the white bourgeoisie forced to accept sharing, without the stupid recourse to the separation of "races" - "the business must go on ". The Bantustans have disappeared, but for the overwhelming majority of the population of African origin, integration has accelerated in the great urban peripheries, where the marriage between poverty and violence develops, characterizing the enormous tin neighborhoods; with the elegant buildings inhabited by the white minority and the privileged blacks, nearby, at sight. In ancient Rhodesia, on the other hand, the power of the European minority was also replaced by a black bourgeoisie, whose greatest exponent is Mugabe, only recently descending, leaving behind poverty and the record of the highest inflation recorded in history.
Apart from these last two cases that survived the late expulsion of the Portuguese from their old colonies, the general situation of power in Africa is that of small oligarchies of very rich people; and, as it is known behind a great wealth there is always a great robbery, in any latitude. Of civilian origin or in military uniform - in the body or in the closet - these oligarchs rule, at least badly, as a faithful copy of the European oligarchies. The economic structures are not comparable in terms of diversification and are very focused on the exploitation of agricultural crops with global demand or mining extraction where multinationals of various origins dominate. Although, even on a global scale, there are already African millionaires, especially Nigerians, with the name Isabel dos Santos in a position in the top ten that we do not know if it will keep up with the change of power in Angola, nothing favorable to traditional famiglia Santos.
The sequels of this development model, sponsored by global institutions - the World Bank, the WTO and the IMF - generate an interaction between environmentally disastrous projects, from monoculture plantations, to the abandonment of rural communities to refuge in cities or emigration. States, dominated by predatory oligarchies, among measures to attract foreign investment, coupled with the absence of elementary infrastructures and evidence of public deficits, stimulate IMF intervention (usually accepted) in view of an illusory contraction of debt, even after plans for privatizations and loss of quality of life for the population have been implemented; a mechanism of general application that has nothing innovative, nor has Africa as the only destination.
This collapse of the traditional communities causes the abandonment of the lands, the displacement to the cities that cannot receive such influxes of people, abandoned by the so-called public powers. If these cities pile up millions of poor people in neighborhoods and suburbs, without health conditions, violence, but where a diversified informal economy boils. In Africa, megacities are growing fast, with notable numbers being the 13 million inhabitants of Cairo, Kinshasa or Nairobi, where the world's largest (Kibera) neighborhood is estimated to have 2.5 million people.
Emigration, especially to Europe, comes from ingenious and / or dangerous ways of crossing the Mediterranean, where storms and the encounter with maritime police or Frontex agents are common ; these last ones that rival in the form of solving nothing fundamental, bordering to the confinement and the arrest for later repatriation . It is well known that the use of police to solve social problems can only have circumstantial results, never structural, and still less have effects on geopolitical imbalances . For its part, NATO, with the operation Active Endeavor until 2016 and, after that date, with the operation Sea Guardian did not solve anything; not even the action of mob gangs who carry out all kinds of violence on the candidates for entry into Europe.
Surveillance in the Mediterranean serves above all for Europeans to fall asleep in the lap of their virtuous political classes; even if the results only show their disabilities.
The difficulties of this crossing and the situation of "illegal" or "without papers" are mixed elements of valorization and submission by those who surpass them. Of value, because immigrants seek a less miserable and dangerous life than the ones lived in their countries of origin; on the other hand, many will have to submit to the most disqualified strata of European entrepreneurship, who know how to have in immigrants a mass of people whom they can press, steal, kidnap and pay miserably, using their disgrace, the few rights they have recognized, to increase their profits and press down the prices prevailing in the global European "labour market".
This fiercely competitive model affects a large part of European societies and promotes structural unemployment, the fragmentation of work performance, widespread precariousness in life, instills an environment of fear, of stupid channeling of discontent and fear to the repulsion of the Other (African and / or Islamic immigrant), and racism and xenophobia institutionalized in fascist parties (Le Pen, AfD, Fidesz, Lega Nord ...). These take advantage of the drift towards a neoliberalism assailed by the parties enrolled in the EPP and S & D gangs that dominate the majority of national political classes within the EU. In this reactionary drift, the "left" parties that seek to win more votes approach the positions of the center to access the pot, than to contribute to an alternative to the oligarchic political system and the capitalist model.
2 - Demographic profile of African geopolitical areas
As we proceeded for Europe, we divided Africa into three sets of territories . One of them is North Africa bordering the southern Mediterranean, Muslim, Arab and Berber, in its essential and confronting Europe on the north bank, Gibraltar and Spain to a few thirteen kilometers, but also very close to Malta and Sicily. A second set of countries, which we named Africa - Anchors, was chosen for reasons of economic or demographic potential or given their importance in the areas where they are and which therefore show themselves as the anchors that mark the march of the continent; even though there are no contiguities between them. And finally, the remaining countries, some larger than others, usually poor, little articulated internally or without a particularly large population.
Primary source: CNUCED / UNCTAD
As can be seen in the graph there is a regular evolution and no retreats, being sensible the difference of rhythm between North Africa and the other sets; which is accentuated in the forecasts for 2050. The strongest foreseeable growth is recorded in the set of the 43 countries included in Africa-Other, whose population will be multiplied by eight in relation to 1970.
2.1 - North Africa
Five countries of very ancient civilization are closely related to Europe and the Middle East. In the first case, with the settlement of Greeks, Macedonians, Romans and, fleetingly Byzantine; and much later with French,Italian (Libya) and English colonization (Egypt). In the second case, with the arrival of the Phoenicians, founders of Carthage, with the first wave of Muslim expansion in the seventh century, whose culture became dominant throughout North Africa since then, even when the inclusion of the south coast of the Mediterranean in the Ottoman sphere of influence took place. Conversely, the presence of North Africans in Europe only occurred following the destruction of the Visigothic state in the Peninsula Iberian Peninsula in 711 and for more than seven centuries, as well as in Sicily, Malta or Cyprus, much less durable.
· Libya has until 1990 the highest rates of annual population growth in the region (3.8 to 5.1%) being exceeded by Egypt since then, but maintaining rates of just over 2% and including in the forecasts for 2050 (1.8% per year);
· Libya, which in the decade ending in 2010 had an average population growth rate of 1.5%, only shows a rate of 0.3% in the 2000/2016 hexennium. The causes are well-known and relate to the war that the NATO powers have made to Libya - a dangerous country with only 6.1 M inhabitants - to seize their energy riches, which have been divided according to the bombings and which was a slap in the face of Barak Obama's Nobel Peace Prize laureates in 2009;
· Morocco has the lowest rate of population growth in the region for the period 1970-2000 (2.7%), replaced by Tunisia in the first decade of this century and by Libya in the following hexennium, as mentioned above;
· In this century, after a general fall in the rate of population growth, there has been an increase in rates in all countries except Libya, in the six years ending in 2016, as already explained;
· As for the forecasts for 2050, they see a general fall in population increases of between 1.8% for Egypt and 0.6% for Tunisia. The only exception is Libya, owing to the exceptional nature of the past few years, and it may not be possible, given the internal conflict in the country, between the various tribes, mainly Cyrenaica and Tripolitania, since NATO intervention.
2.2 - Africa - Anchors
In this set we have considered six countries. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and open to the oil extraction of multinationals that sows an environmental disaster in the vicinity of the Niger Delta. Nigeria fits a diverse blanket of ethnicities, languages and creeds, Islam being dominant; and it has in its recent history a past with various state organizations, especially the caliphates of Sokoto and Bornu, among others, fought and subjected by French and English colonization in the 19th and 20th centuries. Nigeria has internally the problem of Boko Haram, a fanatic group linked to ISIS / Daesh and characterized by abductions and massacres; a problem that adds to the advance of the drought that pushes population from north to south, provoking reactions increased by ethnic-religious differences.
Egypt, also previously considered in the geopolitical area of North Africa, is the most populous Arab-speaking country, with a small minority of Coptic population and whose history goes back several thousand years before the common era; it is one of the three oldest state units, with China and Iran the other two. Recently, there was an elected president - Morsi - affection for the Muslim Brotherhood but, not being accepted by the military or the US, Egypt returned to a dictatorial military regime, as usual. It has in Sinai the regular performance of the ISIS / Daesh and an uncomfortable neighborhood made up of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Its strategic relevance derives from the control of this jugular navigation route which is the Suez Canal.
South Africa, another dense flap of languages and ethnicities, has the particularity of including a large minority of descendants of Europeans and a smaller minority of Asians, of whom Gandhi was a hundred years ago. It is the country with the greatest global wealth in Africa, with very unequal distribution, high poverty and corruption, despite the extinction of apartheid.
Angola has lived out of its wealth of oil and diamonds, the benefits of which have been appropriated by an oligarchy of kleptocrats, with very close links with the Portuguese political class; and where many thousands of Portuguese work. On the other hand, it is a destructured country, with enormous poverty and huge infrastructural deficiencies.
Ivory Coast was governed for thirty years by a megalomaniac oligarch - Houphouet-Boigny, an example of "black with a white mask" as Fanon would say; and who built a huge and sumptuous basilica in his homeland, inland. Its succession led to bloody conflicts that forced the UN military intervention. It has global relevance in several agricultural products of world importance, such as cacao, the cotton and the oil of palm.
Finally, Kenya stands out as the main hub of the continent's east coast and Mombasa was the port chosen by China to be its main warehouse in the western Indian Ocean, within the framework of the commercial network that is under way.
As it has been noted, countries whose economic, demographic or geographic size have attracted attraction in their respective surrounding areas have been chosen as anchors, in addition to what has already been said about North Africa.
· The highest rates of annual population growth are in Côte d'Ivoire until 2000, and the indicator for the 1970s and 1980s (5.8%) is the highest among all the countries in this group over the period considered. However, in the periods that define the present century, there is a marked decrease in the population dynamics in the country, resulting from the two periods of civil war - 2002/07 and 2010/11 - that occurred in the country;
· Also in the time period contained in this century, the highest rates of population growth among the six countries show in Angola (4.2% and 3.9% in 2000/10 and 2010/16) and the reasons will certainly be related to the end of the civil war in 2002; an inversion compared to the one described above for Côte d'Ivoire, whose period of turbulence was in the first decade of the century. In Angola, the comparatively low population increase in the 1970s and 1980s, (2.4% and 3.2%, respectively) corresponds to the final period of the struggle for independence and, later on, the civil war. The wars that have dragged on for 27 years having killed 500,000 people;
· The decline in population growth rates is practically constant over the period considered in the case of Kenya, Egypt and particularly in South Africa which incidentally has the most reduced among the anchor countries, from the period 1980/90, still in the time of apartheid;
· Nigeria, which has the lowest rates of population growth in Angola in the period 1950-70, has a constant value of around 3% per year;
· As for forecasts for 2050, the highest population dynamism is Angola (4.8% per year) and the lowest in South Africa (0.9%), where, over time, there has been a slow but steady outflow of population of European origin. Nigeria and Côte d'Ivoire are also countries where the population growth rate is expected to rise till 2050 (3.6% and 3.4%, respectively). Finally, there is also a decline in population dynamics in Egypt (1.8%) and a continuation in Kenya for the hexennium ended in 2016.
2.3 - Africa - remaining countries (43 )
Up to 1990 there is a balance between the sum of the combined population of North Africa and the Anchor countries compared to the other African countries - in the order of 110 people in the latter per 100 inhabitants in the former. This ratio began to change gradually to about 116 in 2000, 125 in 2010 and 130 in 2016, being estimated that in 2050 this ratio will be 156. This tendency to materialize, reveals a significant change in the distribution throughout the territory, of the African population and that could result from the less attraction of the Anchor countries for the capture of population in the neighboring regions, exacerbating the social situation in the latter. On the other hand, Europe, maintaining low levels of economic growth, along with increased animosity and xenophobia towards migrants and refugees, may not be an opportunity for many Africans, especially those from demographic pressure to coincide with economic stagnation; or where armed conflicts unfold, with their courtship of violence over the population, massive displacement, looted or destroyed assets, refugee camps, or extension of the sprawling slums.
More optimistically, it can be assumed that this trend of increasing levels of population may be accompanied by a greater capacity in these 43 other countries to fit their own natural resources, in a logic that is not adherent to the reality of "sustained growth", as a rule, quite uneven; or the emergence among the latter of new anchors that could create new flows of internal displacement in Africa with the creation of new centralities.
Taking into account, the geopolitical twitches that are consolidating, mainly between US and Russia / China; the continuity or deepening of inequalities between countries; the very disintegration within many of these nation states, with the increase of social conflicts transformed into ethnic and religious, in the case of Africa; taking into account their disarticulation, is all reminded by René Dumont's 1962 warning in his book "Africa Begins Badly" that today could be rewritten with a new title, "Africa Continues Evil", with eventual edition following an "Africa Goes to Worse".
It is not convenient, however tedious, to give a description of the situation in each of the 43 African countries grouped here, we restrict ourselves to the larger ones, from the demographic point of view.
· In 2016, Ethiopia is the only one of these countries with more than 100 M inhabitants, even though it separated from Eritrea in 1993. Eritrea, with 3.4 million inhabitants in 2000, had been incorporated - as if it were an Ethiopia by the emperor Haile Selassie in 1951 by Great Britain, without taking into account cultural, religious and linguistic differences; a 31-year war that ended only in 1991. So, from the demographic point of view, if the separation of Eritrea was not relevant in Ethiopia, the same cannot be said of the fact that the latter has no longer access direct to the coast;
· The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second most populous country of this set with 79 M inhabitants in 2016. Rich in natural resources, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world, revealing the field of traditional kleptocracy in power ( Mobutu for 32 years and the Kabila family to this day) ; and the dismantling of the country in regions dominated by oligarchic powers and mafia militias, in articulation with the interests of international capital, most recently centered on the coveted “rare earths”;
· In the following places, in terms of population size in 2016, Tanzania (56 M), Uganda (41 M) and Sudan (40 M) followed, with South Sudan (12 M) broke up in 2011, after a long war with Sudan (north); and that it continues in a state of war, internally, since then, in addition to a litigation with Sudan on the sharing of oil resources;
· The smallest countries in Africa are the Seychelles and São Tomé and Príncipe, respectively with 200 thousand and 94 thousand inhabitants in 2016. The Seychelles constitute, in the case of the capital movements that Portugal has as a part, a second-line offshore ; and, S. Tomé and Príncipe, only in 2016 appears in this "market" as it can be observed here ;
· For the period 1970/2016, the highest annual average rates of population growth (there is no case of decrease as we have observed in Europe) are recorded in Western Sahara (13.1%), occupied by Morocco; in Djibouti (10.7%) where there is a real bottling of foreign military bases; Niger (7.8%), Gambia (7.7%) and Uganda (7.4%), including Uganda (41 M) and Niger (21 M) have a large population in 2016. Conversely, Seychelles (1.7%) and Cape Verde (2.2%), which, as we know, are archipelagos, in the second case with a traditional and strong emigration; Lesotho (2.5%) which is a monarchy in South Africa; the Central African Republic (3.3%) where there is a war for the domain of gold mines; and Guinea-Bissau (3.4%) where contaminated waste from advanced countries converges and drug movements to Europe;
· In the chapter of the forecasts for 2050, all the demographic growth rates are inferior to the corresponding ones registered in the period 1970/2016; however , there are situations where the differences are minimal - Mali and Burundi;
· The largest population growth up to 2050 is for Sahel, Niger (6.8%), slightly below the 1970/2016 indicator and well above the next highest for Uganda (4.6%) and the Republic Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania (4.4%), three of the four most populous countries among the 43 countries included in the Other ;
· Still, with respect to forecasts for 2050, the lowest annual population dynamics fall in Seychelles (0.1%) , Djibouti, Cape Verde (1.1%) , Lesotho (1.3%) , Botswana (1.5%) , Swaziland (1.6%) , Namibia and Sierra Leone (2.2%). In the cases of the Seychelles and Cape Verde, the continuation of the low population growth backwards registered for the period 1970/2016 is underlined. Among the others that we highlight, there is a clear presence of countries that surround South Africa that will only grow from the population point of view 0.9% per year until 2050.
The following map mirrors the demographic evolution of African countries expected for 2050 (in% annual growth).
· It is very clearly observed that the lowest rates of population growth are concentrated exclusively in the North and South of the continent (red and orange);
· In turn, the highest growth rates are roughly concentrated between the Sahel and the Indian (blue and green), dispersed areas with intermediate values for population growth (yellow).
Evolution of the African population in 2050 compared to 2016
Coming soon - same approach for Asia
Previous approach - same approach for Europe
This and other texts in:
 North Africa – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Marrocco e Tunisia
Africa - Anchors – South Africa, Angola, Ivory Coast, Egipt, Nigeria e Kenya
Africa – Others – All the other 43 countries
(the inclusion of Egypt in North Africa and as a Anchor is intentional)