For whatever reason, Africa seems to be the one place in fiction that never gets better as time goes on. On occasion, fiction decides to shake things up. Africa doesn't necessarily get better, but it catches up technologically. What happens when a third-world region like Africa advances technologically but has no reduction in widespread poverty?

Cyberpunk, and lots of it. It's hyper-cynical, hyper-dystopian themes became difficult for audiences to take seriously after a certain point when applied to most locations, but combine it with a seemingly never-ending Real Life dystopia like Africa, and that problem is all but eliminated. Not to mention Africa is also an ideal place geographically to build a Space Elevator.

Despite this application of the setting, and probably due to the stereotypes of Africa's climate, Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain is not so common with this trope.

Interestingly, it does not specifically have to be Africa; India and the Middle East have been done on occasions, and the words "Asian Century" are essentially synonymous with this Trope.


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  • Wakanda, home of the Black Panther, is more scientifically and technologically advanced than the Western world, and has been for a long time. In addition to their most famous product, the rare metal vibranium (which Captain America's shield is made out of), they have a cure for cancer.
  • Elephantmen: The eponymous Elephantmen were created and trained by MAPPO at a huge lab/base somewhere in Northern Africa.
  • The Pan-African Judges comics set in the Judge Dredd universe.


  • The Ear, the Eye and the Arm takes place in Zimbabwe, in the year 2194.
  • In Otherland the Post-Cyberpunk applies to everywhere in the world, but notable is that Renie and !Xabbu are from Durban, South Africa.
  • Jon Courtenay Grimwood's Ashraf Bey books are set in an alternate universe North Africa. As cyberpunk as it gets.
  • The Watekni subculture in a 20 Minutes into the Future Kenya in Ian McDonald's Chaga.
  • Zoo City is a Cyberpunk novel with fantasy elements set in South Africa. It has an endorsement from William Gibson himself and has the same kind of grey market protagonist that Gibson's novels favor.
    • Averted in some respects though, as Africa outside of the slums seems to be doing better, and the series is set in an Alternate Universe after the 90's, the story taking place around 2010.
  • Nero Manson's novel Sex Drugs And Violence In The Future portrays Africa as a nightmarish hell hole where rape and child soldiers are commonplace.
  • Alastair Reynolds's novel Blue Remembered Earth is a subversion. While not everything is perfect in the African countries, they've become new economic and technological powers and the overall tone is quite optimistic. A Post-Cyberpunk sensibility is present, but it's mostly set dressing.
  • Most of Nnedi Okorafor's books take place in a technologically updated future or alternate universe Africa that is also a Magical Land. Some examples are Zahrah the Windseeker, The Shadow Speaker, and Who Fears Death.
  • Averted in Raphael Carter's The Fortunate Fall, a Post-Cyberpunk novel set in a 24th century where everywhere but Africa is a third-world crapsack. Africa, on the other hand, is the hypertechnological promised land where, in an inversion of the "one drop" rule, only those who prove via blood test to have African ancestry are allowed entry. And did we mention the possibly real/possibly cyber versions of the Egyptian gods?
  • In Isaac Asimov's, I, Robot universe, the Tropic Region (a unified Africa, South America, Latin America and Mexico) eventually becomes Earth's primary economic driver, while Europe sinks into a sleepy backwater that's more of a retirement community writ-large than anything else.

     Live Action TV  

     Tabletop Games  

  • The Trinity roleplaying game subverts this; Africa is a leading force in 22nd century Earth, though not without its problems. It helps that Africa managed to avoid the worst damage of the Aberrant War, and the more modern Europe and North America got hit hard.
  • Transhuman Space has a lot of preppy Post-Cyberpunk, but one of the biggest themes is that the degree of penetration is horribly uneven and the full benefits of the Fifth Wave of technological advancement are only available to the richest parts of the world. Africa is not one of the richest parts of the world, and it's straight cyberpunk if you're lucky.
  • While Shadowrun is primarily focused on North America (especially Seattle), Africa receives no small amount of attention, with both the setting's worst Wretched Hive and its most advanced space port (and Space Elevator) being situated on the continent, along with several other places of note.

     Video Games  

  • Halo: New Mombasa, Kenya is a high-tech city and spaceport. At least when Halo 2 begins, before there's lots of Stuff Blowing Up. The horrible nature of the place is brought up in Halo 3: ODST, when we learn that The Leader of the police is a Dirty Cop and molester.
  • One of the campaigns of Empire Earth 2: The Art of Supremacy takes place during the "Synthetic Age" (202X-204X) (featuring things like nanotech enhanced soldiers and giant mecha) in Africa, and deals with the poor native taking up arms against the exploitative megacorps. It ends with Africa becoming a technologically advanced world superpower.
  • Played with in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey and its sequel Dreamfall Chapters, which takes place in a Cyberpunk future where most of Africa has risen as one of the world's leading economic superpowers following several economic collapses and crises in Europe and America. As a result, most African countries is consistently portrayed and described as peaceful, idyllic, and prosperous; a stark contrast to the run-down and polluted, borderline dystropic Europe.
  • The People's African Union is one of the factions colonizing space in Civilization: Beyond Earth. In-universe, it's said to have come about as part of a sub-Saharan renaissance, and has an AI focusing on the Harmony affinity and eschewing the Supremacy affinity. However, while they're likely to make and keep alliances and their faction bonus is a boost to food production, their leader is a stern Reasonable Authority Figure who, behind his jovial front, harbours a measure of resentment over how the the African people were exploited and humiliated by foreign powers in the past few centuries, and is determined to make sure that never happens again. A faction of Beware the Nice Ones, basically.
  • Overwatch has the city of Numbani in the West-African savanna. It is a gorgeous, technologically advanced metropolis built after the Omnic Crisis and is one of the few places where humans and omnics live side by side in peace, working together to create a Utopian Africa. As a result, it is unofficially known as "The City of Harmony". Certain characters have special dialog on the location, ranging from admiring its peace (Lúcio) to rage and disgust at the idea of tolerating omnics (Torbjörn).