African Billionaires Flourish as Population Explosion Starves Masses

    October 9, 2013

If you want to know why humanity fails and succeeds, just compare Africa, a continent of 1.2 billion people on one side and China, a continental size country of 1.35 billion on the other.

In 1980, freshly liberated from the communist tyranny rule of Chairman Mao, China was so impoverished that measured on a per-capita income basis it was at the bottom in international rankings. Even Sub-Saharan Africa’s per-capita income was more than 3-times that of Red China.

In 1980, China was the poorest nation, far behind Africans, in income per capita (PPP basis).

Fast forward 32 years later and the landscape of prosperity appears completely reversed. China’s per-capita income in 2012 was 4-times that of Sub-Saharan Africa, a monumental achievement in no small part due to unprecedented efforts by Chinese family planning authorities to curb unsustainable fertility rates and market capitalism introduced by Deng Xiaoping, Mao’s successor.

And now comes another displeasing revelation on the state of inequality in Africa. As the number of billionaires are soaring, the continent is left trailing in most measures of human development, with population explosion constricting its teaming masses from reaching their full potential.

Ventures Africa, a pan-African bi-monthly print magazine and a daily online business news service, reports that Africa today has as many as 55 billionaires, with a combined fortune of $143.88 billion.

Nigeria, where Christian-Muslim sectarian conflict and explosive fertility rate have taken a high toll on human dignity and standard of living, leads the pack with 20 billionaires, followed by crime-ridden South Africa with 9-billionaires, and an increasingly politically unstable Egypt with 8 billionaires.

Altogether, there are 10 African countries on the list, with Algeria, Angola, Zimbabwe and Swaziland part of the select club.

One bright note worth mentioning is that a tiny minority of billionaires have made their fortunes in construction and retail, two sectors which are essential in helping African economic base diversify from its tragic dependence on mining and resource extraction.

Fertility Rates (births/women), rapidly declined in China, but are unsustainable in Africa and India.

So what advice can one give to the African and global billionaires to improve humanity’s future? Perhaps invest some of their billions towards family planning, long term contraception, and women’s education in Africa and Indian Subcontinent.

When fertility rates will resemble those of China, adequate human capital accumulation and prosperity will not be far behind.

[images from world bank via google visualizer]