Over two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africans are vicenarians, or on their way. Sporting mobile phones, Internet access and increasingly better transport connections, this new generation is far better connected across borders than ever before. Where previously autarky, autocracy or latent democracy could linger - the needs and aspirations of a new generation are cross-pollinating their ideas faster than ever before - few governments can afford to ignore this.
Case in point: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A model of development reminiscent of some in Asia, this state-driven country is in defiance of liberal norms adopted by many other African states. And it is pulling people out of poverty. In return for the strides it is making in industrial development, services and infrastructure investment, the government in Shengo Hall demands conformity. Young Ethiopians want to enjoy more of the kind of freedom Nigerians have.
Across the continent, Nigeria’s March election was far from a foregone conclusion. Many Nigerians were mindful of an attempt by the incumbent party to remain in power at all costs. Ironically, they voted for a disciplinarian, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who has something in common with his Ethiopian peers: both in terms of his belief in the role the state should be playing in driving development and in his personal intolerance of corruption.
Here comes Africa.