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Africa's Demographic Trends

Author: Maurice Mubila
Organisation: African Development Bank
Publish Date: 2012
Country: Africa
Sector: Development
Method: Foresight
Theme: Public Good
Type: Article
Language: English
Tags: Population growth, Fertility rates, Mortality rates, Life expectancy, Urbanization, Country actions

Knowledge of the population is crucial for planning resource allocation and designing appropriate policies. Africa’s current and projected demographic trends – growing population, urbanization, and the ratio of working age to non-working age and aging populations -- require in turn appropriate responses to the anticipated pressures on food, energy, and water resources. Policy formulation must also consider the implication for greater mobility, demand for jobs, social safety nets the uncertain effects of climate change. Anticipated demographic trends in population growth and age structures are important drivers of economic growth. Over the coming decades, these trends are projected to lead to high levels of economic growth in some African countries, if the right policies are put in place. Demographic trends are thus likely to provide an opportunity to reduce poverty and yield a demographic dividend that will lead to economic success as it did in the Asian emerging markets: as much as one-third of East Asia’s economic “miracle” is attributed to demographic change (Bloom and Canning, 2011). On the other hand, in countries with sparse resources and inadequate policies, population growth could lead to economic decline and social misery.
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