Africa’s economic slowdown, triggered by a plunge in commodity prices, has raised lingering questions about the continent’s future: Is Africa’s population boom more of a curse than a blessing? Can its economies generate the jobs necessary to employ a workforce projected to reach 830 million people by 2050? Will its leaders deliver the education and infrastructure required to unleash the productivity of its people?
The Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation hopes to answer these questions and more through the work of its new research division focused on global prosperity. Led by researcher Efosa Ojomo, a champion of creating economic prosperity through disruptive innovation, his team will examine how emerging markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, and Asia can create prosperity by focusing on innovations that build new markets and spur long-term economic growth and employment.
In a series of recent blogs, Ojomo outlines a unique perspective to tear down barriers currently preventing people from lifting themselves out of poverty, thus paving the way to a more equitable world. He acknowledges that “while progress in alleviating overall poverty should be celebrated, it behooves us to try to understand the reason for that progress and how to expedite the process in countries that find themselves in more precarious circumstances today. As such, our research at the Clayton Christensen Institute takes a different approach than conventional methods do in trying to understand the causal drivers of prosperity.”
Programs that truly create prosperity should be the standard towards which countries and development organizations aspire. According to Ojomo, the importance of this point cannot be overstated: simply lifting people above poverty leaves them in precarious, and sometimes deadly, circumstances.
For more information about Ojomo’s expertise, see his latest Harvard Business Review article, “Africa’s New Generation of Innovators.”