From Rural Majority to Urban Majority Africans: Where Will They Work?

From Rural Majority to Urban Majority Africans: Where Will They Work?

Umar G. Benna (Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5646-6.ch070
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Africa is experiencing triple processes of high population growth, rapid urbanization, and digital transformation. The undercurrents of these processes suggest that the continent is turning from rural majority to urban majority, and this situation raises the question of where will this majority work? Arab Spring and the turbulent situation in the Middle East suggest what could be the result of inaction. This chapter attempts to answer this question by using exploratory research method to highlight the potential role of mainly young entrepreneurs to define, through online questionnaire responses, their preferred terrain of workplace creation in local areas, cities, rural areas and in the diverse regions of Africa as well as on the ubiquitous online work environment extending from home to anywhere in the continent. The chapter ends with a review of the observations and suggestions about future research.
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This section surveys the literature on the four main processes that form the focus of this chapter. First, the process of workplace creation is surveyed according to its place-based and non-place-based components. Second, population growth dynamics are discussed in the context of the transformation into a general and a digital workforce; similarly, the emergence of the middle class and its role as a force producing and consuming goods and services is addressed. Third, is a survey of rapid urbanization within the African historical context which aims to strike a rural-urban balance in the hope that history will repeat itself, similar to what the scholars of Timbuktu was able to achieve in the 14th and 15th centuries (Benna, 2013). Finally, a survey of the rapid penetration of information technologies and their high potential for creating digital jobs for inclusive growth is considered.

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