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Africa' Population Set To Double By 2050. Opportunity Or Catastrophe?

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

Occasional Debate September 16, 2017

According to a recent United Nation's report called World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, populations of some 26 African countries are set to at least double by 2050. The expected population explosion in Africa is attributed high fertility rates alias high birth rates, coupled with decreasing child mortality rates. Between 2010 - 2015, average fertility rate in Africa was 4.7 births per woman compared to, for example, that of 1.6 births per woman in Europe.

Doubling of Africa's population in about 30 years from now, will provide a big challenge to governments in the continent, in terms of achieving many of their national objectives for improving standards of living hence quality of life of their citizens. More specifically, exploding populations will generate massive needs and demands for housing, health facilities and services, education, jobs, food, clean water, buildable land, roads, electricity, sewerage systems, etc, in both urban and rural areas.

Failure by governments to meet adequately the arising new societal needs and demands exemplified above, may lead to impeccable societal problems, and particularly increasing individual and general poverty that may in turn lead to hunger, homelessness, increasing illiteracy, poor individual health, increasing crime rates, proliferation of squatter settlements/shanty towns, urban decay, social disorder and chaos, increasing non-inclusiveness, etc.

Notwithstanding, however, the view of some African countries about the eminent dramatic increase in population in Africa is positive. Such countries are rather optimistic that the expected population explosion in Africa will provide great opportunity for economic growth and prosperity. They have argued that increasing populations will imply increasing numbers of young people for their workforce that will consequently boost economic growth. Some countries have even assumed that increasing population sizes in Africa will be accompanied by increasing incomes hence expansion of local markets for goods, that will catalyze indigenous industrial growth. Theoretically, some of the above postulations may make sense. However, practical realities in Africa at the moment do not support them. Credible statistical evidence suggests that in many African countries, increasing economic growth has had no significant impact on poverty reduction so far. For instance, countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Mozambique, that are said to among the fastest growing economies in the world, poverty has either been increasing or at most been reduced very marginally. On the basis of the existing economic circumstances and experiences in Africa, we think that doubling of Africa's population by 2050 will be catastrophic particularly for those countries that are currently busy exporting their raw natural resources instead of processing the resources locally and using some of them to develop indigenous manufacturing sectors. Even those with well conceived indigenous industrialization programs, their economies may not be able to attain growth rates that will match expected population growth rates. As such, many African countries are very likely to be unable to meet new societal needs and demands emanating from the expected population explosion, that were mentioned earlier. The failure will be followed by the severe consequences that were also mentioned earlier! What do you guys out there think? Let us debate this! __________________________ © 2015 - 2017 Africauptodate. All Rights Reserved

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