This year on Africa Day, we honour Africa by interviewing our Country Manager in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Serge Mbay, who tells us about the numerous advances that this continent has achieved over the last few years.
First of all, do you know Africa?
Africa is a continent with a total area of 30 272 922 km2. It is divided into 54 sovereign states with a total population of 1.3 billion people, representing 17% of the world’s population. It contains 26,000 kilometres of coastline, as well as the fourth highest mountain in the world, Kilimanjaro, and the world’s longest river together with the Amazon: the Nile River.
There are 41 different official currencies in Africa, but the most widely used is the CFA franc.
In addition, linguistic diversity is one of the most notable features of this continent, with around 2,000 different languages spoken.
Our Country Manager in DRC, Serge Mbay, answers our questions
In recent decades, the African continent has achieved great progress, especially in the economic sector. Which aspects have had the greatest impact?
Thanks to new information and communication technologies, Africa has managed to face the challenges and opportunities of globalisation. Demographic growth, the increase in the school enrolment rate of women and the entrepreneurial dynamism of young people are some of the determining factors of this progress.
Thanks to this remarkable development, women have been able to play a participative role in the economy, which has led to greater gender equality. In which sectors has the increase in gender equality been most relevant or visible?
Both the public and private sectors have welcomed many women in recent years. Many of them have managed to set up their own businesses and become leaders of private and public companies. Women continue to assert themselves in politics and in many previously male-dominated professions (military, police, etc.).
Which are the main sectors in which Africa impact the rest of the world?
Africa continues to supply the rest of the world with its natural resources (oil, natural gas, coal, etc.), its mining reserves (coltan, cobalt, etc.) and trade services. Moreover, remember that Africa remains the lungs of our planet thanks to its natural and environmental biodiversity.
Which sector would you highlight for its great potential for development?
Despite the importance of hydrocarbons and minerals, agriculture is a sector that is accelerating and promises rapid development. The Covid-19 pandemic, with the lockdown and restriction of mobility (closure of regional and national borders), constitutes a great opportunity for the development of African agriculture. The urgent need to produce, process and consume locally is unquestionable!
And finally, since there are so many things to celebrate… How is Africa Day celebrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the rest of the African continent?
In general, the day is mostly celebrated with awareness and information activities rather than celebrations. Young Africans are becoming aware of the enormous challenges they face. They are convinced that Africa’s destiny is in their hands. Thus, Africa Day becomes a call for responsibility, an invitation in the international concert of giving and receiving.