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1.List and briefly describe major issues and trends in a region of your choice. These should include each of the following areas: environmental, demographic, cultural, social, political, and economic.

2.For two of the issues or trends stated in question one, Provide and summarise one media piece that explains, quantifies, and /or describes the issue or trend. (Attach media if possible; if not, provide link(s).)

3.For each of the trends and issues chosen in question two, identify a business opportunity for Canadian companies (real or imaginary). Describe the business ideas including who the customers are and what the benefit is for the region. There must be a clear link between the issue/trend and the business idea.

Major Issues in Sub-Saharan Africa

The sub Saharan Africa refers to the southern portion of the African continent and excludes the states that are included in the Arabian League. The sub Saharan Africa is separated from the Saharan part by the transitional zone referred to as the Sahel. The countries lying to the south of the Sahara desert are categorised as the sub Saharan countries. The southern portion of the continent comprises of state experiencing varied climate ranging from Tropical to Sub Tropical climatic zones. The continent has immense resources and has the potential to grow into powerful economic zones with proper planning and investment. The paper will evaluate the various environmental, demographic, cultural, social, economic and political trends and identify the business opportunities that are associated with these trends and the way can be implemented to foster growth in these trends. The sub Saharan Africa is associated with political instability, various social conflicts, education and poverty along with several other issues that make it a conflict continent. There is ample scope in the continent to develop and implement sustainable plans that can bring about effective change with economic growth (Rowntree et al., 2015).

The African continent is rich in resources that range from arable land, water, oil and natural gas, minerals and wildlife. The African continent is known for its tourism safaris that give a wonderful experience of the wild in the extensive plains of the Masaimara. The continent is bountiful with its resources in natural and conventional sources of energy. A brief look into the UNDP report will allow us to understand the prospect of Sub-Saharan Africa in the continent. The continent has 30% of the world’s mineral reserves, around 8% of the world’s natural gas, 12% of the world’s oil reserves, around 90% of the global Chromium and platinum reserves and 40% of the gold reserves. Around 70% of the African depend on the natural resources of Africa to sustain their lives. The exploitation of these resources has been huge in the Sub Saharan Africa which includes illegal mining, logging, environmental degradation, unregulated fishing and illegal trade n wild life. The UNDP report states that the economic growth in Africa has grown to 4.5 % in 2015, almost 41% of the African live in extreme poverty, and the demographic growth is expected to grow by 1.3 billion by 2050. A 60% of the employment is governed by agricultural activities. Around 20% of the sub Saharan youth are unemployed; the increase in mobile phone subscribers is an astonishing 2500% from 2000 to 2012 and around 250 million Africans would face shortage of fresh water by 2020.


The environmental issues that are faced in the sub Saharan African continent include deforestation, pollution from fossil fuels, water shortage due to continuous drought conditions and severe resource degradation from illegal and unauthorized mining and hunting activities. The environmental degradation has impacted the continent and with severe effects. Land degradation, contamination of water and land resources have created severe impacts in the continent. The economic poverty has restricted implementation of development goals. The waste generated is also not managed and environmental degradation due to the wastes are also huge, the impacts in the environment originating from chemical industries and unethical exploitation with no regards to environmental issues.

Environmental Issues and Business Opportunities


Startup companies like GreenWish Partners are developing on and off grid renewable energy projects. The chief executive of GreenWish partners state that their aim is to harness the enormous potential of African’s resources in delivering sustainable growth (UN Environment 2018). According to African Review the next few decades is going to see an upsurge in renewable energy resources. A sustainable housing programme has been launched by BBOXX which will be covering 250,000 customers in Rwanda. The housing programs will be equipped with renewable energy systems for the households. (African Review, 2018)


The demographic issues mostly contain the child mortality rates, poverty rates, health and gender discrimination and issues related to epidemics and diseases have left the continent paralyzed. The impact of HIV AIDS has been huge in the continent. The continent is attributed with the lowest average life expectancy at 57 years. Issues concerning health and sanitation are also among the most severe of the demographic concerns in the world.


The political trends mostly in the sub Saharan Africa has been related to extreme instability with severe civil wars, political conflicts, ethnic and territorial disputes in Somalia, and Congo and South Sudan has been detrimental for its growth. Political environment of the Sub Saharan Africa has been critical post the colonial era. The continent has experienced unrest and disputes over trade and resources which aggravated with continuing political conflicts. Most of the nations have gradually adopted closed political systems with democratic structures and reforms are being made continuously to upgrade the scenario. The continent has been experiencing huge support from nongovernmental originations, funds and relief programs to rehabilitate the conflict zones. Radio based civic educational programs and educational campaigns are gradually allowing development to happen in the country. The national Democratic Institute is fostering growth with its expansive educational programme that has been changing the scenario in the Sahel countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria (Ndi.org. 2018). The South African Development Community has also contributed considerably in the political situation.


The economic growth has restricted itself due to the ongoing political issues and has resulted in inflation and foreign debts have aggravated the situation. The growth has been fairly low in the African continent with the regional growth dipping to 2.6% in 2016. The total debt of the African Union (AU) sums up around US $ 200 billion while the AU has only 2% of the world trade. The growth has fallen considerably with a decreasing inflation. The pressure of debt has also reduced chances of investment (IMF, 2018).


The socio cultural background of Africa is as diverse as the continent. The rich ethnic diversity and resources has left the continent with a vast potential to grow culturally and socially. Issue like social protection, child and women rights, gender equality are still below the global average and the Sub Saharan Africa needs to develop a lot in these sectors in order to foster development (Development Policy & Analysis Division, 2018).
Literacy rates and access to education is also one of the issues of concern. However several projects funded by the UNESCO in the continent is aiming at mobile learning. This can be an opportunity in developing a business framework that brings technology and learning together. As Nhando (2018) finds out the key challenges of providing digital education and E learning, it can be understood that this sector has a huge potential. As Simon Rey, reports in IOL Business Report about “How Africa wins through design-centered and learned entrepreneurship” it gives hope that Africa is transforming with a positive growth in the next few decades.
The possibility: issues that have prospect to developmOf the several issues that the continent is facing a crisis with, it seems that the trends in Environment and socio cultural scenarios have scope to develop and foster economic growth and development. These are the two sectors where there is immense potential for the continent to grow economically and sustainably thereby promoting business and economic growth.

Demographic Issues and Business Opportunities


Looking at the environmental scenario, the continent has vast reserves of minerals and metals that can be harnessed safely with economic prospects. The continent is bountiful with renewable resources and these can be exploited in an organized manner. The mineral resources have a huge potential not just the fossils fuels but also elements such as rare earth metals agricultural products can bring substantial change. The immense tidal and solar power is also something that has the potential to prosper.


The organisations like RIPPLE AFRICA, Environment AFRICA have projects that are investing towards sustainable environmental goals and developments. Similar organisations and projects are being carried out by several organisations aimed at developing the environment and the society as a whole (Rippleafrica.org, 2018). The prospects in investing in the environment along with community development will enrich the country effectively with concrete out comes.
The socio cultural scenario is one major sector that has immense scope to develop in the continent. School dropouts and literacy rates are seemingly low. The Livingstone Accord signed by 13 nations of the Sub Saharan Africa gives hope for social security and protection of these rights (Africaresearchinstitute.org, 2018). The social policy framework has been followed by the Livingstone Accord to maximize growth in the socio cultural background. Global organisations like UNICEF, Child Relief and You (CRY) have been working extensively to elevate the social condition in the continent. The UNICEF reports that the future of humanity is increasingly African; projecting that by 2050, 40% of the world births will be African and will be the six out of ten rapidly growing economies.

The environmental issues are the biggest challenges of the day and the developed nations are struggling to meet the standards. The African continent being still unexploited leaves with greater opportunities to restore its environment and promote sustainable means prior to its further degradation. The Canadian companies investing in cleaner energies can start investing in sustainable energy production in the continent. Few of the South African countries have economies that have greater average than global figures. GDP in Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia have promising GDPs and long term investments can be made with adequate future planning. With the UNs Sustainable Development Goals or SDG for the next decade, prospect for cleaner energy resources will grow in the continent.
Business ventures that would look into offering reliable cost effective solutions to sustainable energy productions would prosper without doubt. The installation of Solar Photovoltaic panels can be the most productive, and lucrative product to promote for in the continent. The business strategy should be devised keeping in mind the remote nature of the continent and the access to basic energy is a requirement of SDGs.


The business venture would be aimed at providing sustainable energy to the marginally compromised sections of the society along with the commercial applications in the continent at affordable pricing. This will help to reduce the pressure on the government in providing power to remote sections and at the same time empower these sections sufficiently to meet their needs. The government subsidies can also attract greater outreach and promotion of the Solar panels and their application (UN Environment, 2018). The initiative will not only allow investments and good returns in it, but also empower lives individually to foster economic development. The investment in the renewable energy systems will also affect the socio political lives of the people and open newer avenues of commercial investment (UNDP in Africa, 2018).


The socio cultural background can also be involved in the process to provide employment opportunities and sustainable growth. The organisations involved in providing child development gender equality promotes options to tap these resources as a business project. The project will ensure electronic learning facilities to the people in order to provide them with opportunities and employment (UNHCR, 2018). The promotion being strong enough, will allow the organisation to boost its growth and economic outcome. The targeted group will be uneducated adults to lower groups of students in order to make them accessible and popular. The cost feasibility will also ensure greater participation and thereby greater outreach.

Conclusion

The growth of any region depends on the factors that add up to the national interest. The Sub Saharan Africa holds key to future development goals and adequate planning and implementation can bring about constructive development both for the African Continent, and for the investing stakeholders. The paper reveals the scenarios that are existing in the Sub Saharan Africa with respect to their socio cultural impacts and environmental issues. The various programmes being carried out by the several organisations ensures that Africa is likely to grow substantially with change in all spheres. The necessary applications that can bring about potential change are the ones that would govern the African market in the years to come. With necessary plans and implementation the sub Saharan Africa can have a vast sea of opportunities that would provide economic development along with social and cultural backdrops. The business investments would also elevate the condition of the people the continent.
 

References

African Review. (2018). Tomorrow’s Rural Home launched by BBOXX. Retrieved from https://www.africanreview.com/energy-a-power/renewables/tomorrow-s-rural-home-launched-by-bboxx

Africaresearchinstitute.org. (2018). Livingstone Accord - Africa Research Institute. Retrieved from https://www.africaresearchinstitute.org/newsite/tag/livingstone-accord/
Development Policy & Analysis Division. (2018). Development challenges in sub-Saharan Africa and post-conflict countries | Economic Analysis & Policy Division. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/publication/cdp-policy-note-2005/


Environmentafrica.org. (2018). Environment Africa — Supporting Conservation & Communities for Today, Tomorrow and the Future. Retrieved from https://www.environmentafrica.org/


IMF. (2018). Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa. Retrieved from https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/REO/SSA/Issues/2017/05/03/sreo0517
Ndi.org. (2018). Sub-Saharan Africa. Retrieved from https://www.ndi.org/sub-saharan-africa.
Nhando, D. (2018). 3 Key Challenges Of Implementing eLearning In Africa - eLearning Industry. Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/3-key-challenges-implementing-elearning-in-africa


Rippleafrica.org. (2018). RIPPLE Africa | A charity working in Malawi since 2003. Retrieved from https://www.rippleafrica.org/
Rowntree, L., Lewis, M., Price, M., & Wyckoff, W. (2015). Diversity amid globalization. Pearson Education UK. /


UN Environment (2018). Major renewable energy projects in Africa and Asia to kick off thanks to $50 million in private investment. [online] UN Environment. Available at: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/major-renewable-energy-projects-africa-and-asia-kick-thanks-50 [Accessed 4 Dec. 2018].
UN Environment. (2018). Africa. Retrieved from https://www.unenvironment.org/regions/africa
UNDP in Africa. (2018). About Africa. Retrieved from https://www.africa.undp.org/content/rba/en/home/regioninfo.html
UNDP in Africa. (2018). Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy. Retrieved from https://www.africa.undp.org/content/rba/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-7-affordable-and-clean-energy.html


UNHCR. (2018). Africa. Retrieved from https://www.unhcr.org/africa.html
Unicef.org. (2018). UNICEF - Eastern and Southern Africa. Retrieved from https://www.unicef.org/esaro/

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