Why the future face of Christianity is African

African Christianity is set to become the face of the faith around the world. By 2050, 40 per cent of the world's Christians will be African, the African Biblical Leadership Initiative (ABLI Forum) was told.

The Forum in Cameroon heard a clear call for Africa to strengthen its moral fabric. ABLI was also given a warning: 'Do not dilute Christ-centred, biblical Christianity.

A joyful start to ABLI 2017Andrew Boyd, Bible Society

'Africa's time is now,' said keynote speaker Dr Delanyo Adadevoh. 'Africa is the paradise that has yet to be seen.' That paradise, he said, must be established along biblical lines.

Dr Adadevoh, of the US-based International Leadership Foundation, said there were encouraging trends that Africa was making progress towards realising its true potential.

'Africa is increasingly stable. We have experimented with different ideologies, but we are becoming more convinced that multi-party democracy is the best form of government for us.'

By 2025, the workforce of Africa will exceed that of China. And by 2050, Africa will account for 25 per cent of the workforce of the entire world. Already, Africa's middle class was bigger than that of India.

'What an incredible opportunity!' he said. 'Africa is the market for today.'

In September 2016, when Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook was in Kenya, he posted: 'Just landed in Nairobi. I am here to meet with entrepreneurs to talk about mobile money. Kenya is a world leader.'

Yet intra-African trade remains in its infancy, Dr Adadevoh added. Only some 11 per cent of Africa's trade is within its own borders. The rest is with nations outside of Africa.

'Perhaps the time will come when we can say, "Africa first".'

Africa spends 20 per cent of GDP on education – seven per cent more than the United States. 'We are putting our money where our mouth is. Yet Africa still needs everything – infrastructure, education, healthcare, consumer goods.

Dr Adadevoh outlined seven key reforms that he believed would help Africa arise.

  • Strengthening the moral fabric of society. 'Our foundation should be who we want to become and the values we want to characterise us. African morality must be centred on God himself. Africa desperately needs a healthy, godly, proactive Church. The church must lead in developing the moral vision for the continent.'
  • Strengthening Africa's democratic constitutions. Institutions must be held accountable.
  • Investing massively in infrastructure. 'Without it, we cannot realise the dream.'
  • Making the shift from raw-material based economies to value-added economies.
  • Engaging Africa's diaspora.
  • Africans taking responsibility for their own development. 'Africa must no longer be a project for the rest of the world.'
  • Investing massively in education, research and development.

'Africa's time is now,' said Dr Adadevoh. 'Africa must realise its potential.

'I see a new Africa with a church that is strong and godly and exercises biblical leadership. The church must lead the way in transforming the continent according to biblical principles.

'By 2050, 40 per cent of the world's Christians will be African. That is the new shape of Christianity. What a tragedy if at that time Christianity in Africa is diluted. We need to ensure that African Christianity is biblical, Christ-centred and kingdom-driven.

'Africa is taking a message to the world that we do need development, we do need to advance – but we have to have God at the centre.'

ABLI, which is now in its seventh year, is an initiative of Bible Society.