Africa is different from the rest of the world. It has unique and diverse cultures, an amazing environment, and huge economic potential. In fact, it is considered the next frontier in economic growth and driving climate change initiatives. Developed and developing nations have been increasing interest in investing in Africa, with governments executing partnerships.
The second largest continent, often referred to as the “Cradle of Humankind,” has evolved in social, political, and economic aspects, making it a potential power in the world economy. Hence, to understand modern Africa, one must trace its history, culture, politics, economy, and emerging trends.
This guide will help you gain a comprehensive understanding of what shapes the great continent of Africa today.

Historical Background

Africa was home to a wide range of civilizations and empires, which were somehow distributed by the coming of European colonizers. As early as the 19th century, European powers came to Africa, took over their ways of life and imposed new rules and order through colonization. The scramble for Africa, which led to the current boundaries, was driven by the desire for resources and strategic advantage.
Besides enacting Africa’s political boundaries, the colonials also changed economic ways of life and social structures. However, the impact wasn’t all positive, as it took the direction of exploitation and repression. The impact of this era still affects many African countries today and probably in the near future.
It was through movements led by key individuals such as Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya, and Nelson Mandela in South Africa that the nations gained back their self-rule. The independence brought hope for self-determination and development, leading to modern Africa’s political landscape with varying governance systems and political stability.
Years back and into the future, many African governments have realized the need for and importance of democratic systems with equal opportunities for all citizens. For instance, the Namibia government recently announced that it is set to revolutionize the Nampol recruitment process in an ambitious move towards fostering diversity and inclusivity.
Additionally, the leadership changes hands through regular elections and political participation. However, not all countries have followed this path, and some have experienced autocratic rule, which often leads to civil and political unrest.

Economic Growth and Development

Africa’s economy is driven by various sectors, with agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing taking the lead in wealth creation and development across the continent. The continent has adequate natural resources, including minerals, oil, and gas. Countries like Nigeria and Angola are major oil producers, while South Africa has many mineral deposits that boost economic growth.
Agriculture remains the backbone of most economies, employing a large population, especially in rural areas, and supplying raw materials to the local industries. The major agricultural exports include cocoa, coffee, and tea. Hence, governments are starting to finance and support the agricultural sector to increase productivity and sustainability and boost food security and gross domestic product.
Africa has not been left behind as the rest of the world grows its economy, rising on technological innovations. Many African countries are taking the lead in global investment and innovation. Kenya’s capital, for instance, has been cited as a leading technology hub with innovative ideas such as mobile money transfers, popularly known as M-Pesa, which has overtaken traditional banking systems in terms of transactions.
In a show of solidarity, like in Europe and other continents, the nations work together through regional integration. The economic blocks are meant to benefit from mutual trade agreements and address common challenges.
The African Union (AU) promotes political and economic unity across the continent. Its objective is to try to solve common issues affecting the continent, including conflict resolution and human rights.
Other regional blocks include the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which focuses on economic and political stability in West Africa, and the East African Community (EAC), which enhances cooperation and free trade within East African countries.


Africa’s future is brighter and full of potential, driven by its youthful and hardworking population, with an average age of around 19. This energetic population and increasing access to education and technology fuel innovation and entrepreneurship. It also has many untapped resources that other countries outside Africa have depleted, which are the main ingredients for industrialization.
To achieve sustainable development, the continent must balance its economic growth with environmental protection. Hence, pushing for a greener economy through environmental protection to curb climate change.
In addition, Africa has to build more and better partnerships and trade agreements with countries like China, India, and the United States to provide opportunities for investment, trade, and development.