There will be 1.3 billion more Africans by 2050, according to a UN estimate.
As a young African entrepreneur, what that number means to me is 1.3 billion more consumers of goods and services. This is a staggering increase that equates to more than double the continent's current population.
Africa needs to begin preparing and planning for this tremendous growth, not just economically but from a social and infrastructural perspective. Three decades from now, we as a continent surely cannot be singing the aid song. With the number of qualified Africans today who have received education and practical work exposure in some of the world's best institutions and corporations, we surely have what it takes not only to imagine, but to begin to shape the Africa we want to see.
We African millennials are now tasked with the responsibility of transforming the continent and growing the economy significantly for the benefit of future generations. This growth can and should be led by Africans, both in the diaspora and those back home. As someone who is and always has been based in Africa, I often engage in conversations with my peers who are now based in the diaspora, and I listen to how they dream and long for the day they will come back home and begin to make a difference. This is great and refreshing to hear - but without a timeline or commitment it will only remain a distant hope. I believe that when someone feels the need and the urge to make a difference, they should begin doing so from wherever they are and in the smallest of ways, rather than wait for a perfect time.
If economic growth is dependent on population growth then the 21st century belongs to the African continent. That is of course dependent on standards of governance improving, which can only occur on a country by country basis.
Right now, East Africa, with its easy access to China, is leading in terms of developing a manufacturing base but it will be the rise of the domestic consumer that is likely to propel economic growth over the long term. The biggest challenge will be how the continent benefits from advances in technology before suffering from its deflationary effects.
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