The reason I'm mocking this idea is because you seem to think Africa is a thing. It isn't. The reason Botswana is relatively wealthy is different from the reason that Chad is dirt poor. The reason Senegal (which is also really poor) has had a stable democratic government is different from the reason what used to be Zaire has been convulsed by dictators and civil wars since independence. Somalia has been burned to ashes multiple times yet Namibia has a stable government around the same time since...
There is somehow the assumption that 'Africa' is a pit of despair. It is almost always referred to in the singular. I think there are some serious questions left unanswered in this thread and I am surprised that POD has not chimed in.
We Europeans/Americans (there are no Africans here as far as I know) are completely ignoring the elephants in the room. Egypt and Morocco. Surely they should be excluded from this overall impression of Africa as somehow backward, etc.
I also expect that we are uncomfortable with the notion that any nation or people for that matter may be happy outside of our modern world. There are a number of rich and vibrant alternatives to modern lock-step in Africa. Yes people die younger in many regions and hunger is a problem in some. But is that the measure of quality of life? Does the fact that some nations fail to alleviate these problems effectively label them as backward? If so the US clearly falls into the backward category compared to many of its more enlightened neighbors.
If you look at Europe there are a number of countries which need to be brought forward by these standards. A friend of mine just finished a tour in Albania. Not exactly Frankfurt.