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The implications of Africa’s population growth | August 4, 2017 | MercatorNet |

The implications of Africa’s population growth

| August 4, 2017 | MercatorNet |

The implications of Africa’s population growth

Europe might be worried.
Marcus Roberts | Aug 4 2017 | comment 

One of the concerns that should be keeping the leaders of Europe up at night (and which perhaps prompted the French President’s comments)is that population growth in the twenty-first century is going to be overwhelmingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the United Nations’ Population Division as reported in the Financial Times, while about 1 billion people live in sub-Saharan Africa today (13 per cent of the world’s population), in 2050 that number is expected to have more than doubled. By the end of the century nearly 4 billion people will call sub-Saharan Africa home and this will represent over a third of the world’s total population.
Now, such estimates have to be taken with a very large pinch of salt, but they are based upon the current trends: sharply lower infant and child mortality in Africa with a fertility rate that has only declined modestly. (In 1970 the average sub-Saharan woman had 6.7 children; today the same figure is five children per woman – a notable decline but not one that keeps up with declining mortality rates.)
The reason that this impending population growth is a concern for Europe’s leaders is that their continent is already seen as an attractive place for African migrants to head towards. It is rich, it has jobs and it is a short, albeit dangerous, boat ride from the North African littoral. If Europe is currently struggling to figure out what its response to immigration is, imagine how large the problem will be when population pressures in Africa are doubled, trebled or quadrupled! This larger population will need to be fed, watered and employed.
According to the IMF, Africa will need to create 18-20 million more jobs a year for the next quarter century to keep up with its growing population. Apparently some of the prerequisites for this are education, better healthcare, and investment that is attracted by stable economic and political conditions. Hmmm, not an insignificant group of requirements. But this is what is needed if African countries are to capture the “demographic dividend” (the economic benefits gained through an increase in the working aged population and a concomitant decline in the proportion of dependents) that many East Asian nations managed to do from the early 1960s.
As the Financial Times notes, the demographic dividend, and Africa’s economic future, is largely predicated on a “contraceptive revolution”. This phrase, which I had not come across before, means that a country achieves the feat of 75 per cent of its couples using modern contraceptive methods. Currently in sub-Saharan Africa the rate is 26 per cent. This requires not only that more family planning services be provided, but also that “more work is needed to promote the idea that smaller families are beneficial”.
Of course, there is the danger of some post-colonial paternalism here, teaching Africans that what is actually good for them might not be what they want. Furthermore, the demographic dividend that many East Asians nations enjoyed in the late twentieth century is now being replaced by another problem: demographic collapse. Getting people to have fewer children is proving easier to do than getting them to start having more again. Whether Africa will move to a more western family structure will be interesting. Many are hoping that they will, but what do those living in Africa actually want?


August 4, 2017

The good news today is that the vast majority of New Zealanders who took the trouble to write their views on euthanasia to a government committee were against legalising this kind of killing. Too often polls of a thousand or so people are taken by ringing them up and asking them on the spot whether they approve of some carefully worded version of this practice. Writing and signing a submission, be it ever so brief, requires thought and commitment, and, as we see from this exercise Down Under, only a small minority of people are that convinced about expanding the role of doctors to give lethal injections.
I am not certain whom the International Monetary Fund represents, but I am pretty sure it is not ordinary mortals. When I read the article below by a Canadian economist it made my blood boil: the IMF wants Canada to spend billions on daycare for all little children so that all their mothers can be available for the workforce whether they really want to be wage labourers or not. And they have the cheek to refer to this as “women’s equality”!
There is an interesting mix of other articles today, including one that will probably make football players indignant, and a novel argument against sex-reassignment surgery. And don't miss the terrific New Yorker video of the Double Dutch Skipping competition held at the Lincoln Centre this summer. 

Carolyn Moynihan 
Deputy Editor, 

Report confirms a massive majority against euthanasia in New Zealand
By Carolyn Moynihan
Submission process shows the difference between a poll and considered opinions.
Read the full article
Heads up: time to say goodbye to football
By Craig Klugman
If football was a drug, it'd be banned.
Read the full article
Inviting moral relativism to be irrelevant
By Terrance D. Olson
The surprising moral lessons of children's lived experience.
Read the full article
The implications of Africa’s population growth
By Marcus Roberts
Europe might be worried.
Read the full article
How ‘women’s equality’ becomes a pawn in workforce policy
By Christopher Sarlo
An economist’s take on a new International Monetary Fund report on daycare in Canada.
Read the full article
Transgender suicides: what to do about them
By Chad Felix Greene
A safe, ethical way to re-align sex and gender.
Read the full article
In Australia, men still prefer mothers to stay at home
By Jenni Henderson
New household stats show that men are also more conservative about family structure.
Read the full article
Dunkirk: tell your children and your children’s children
By John Robson
Parents should feel responsible for passing on our history
Read the full article
Guide to the classics: Homer’s Iliad
By Chris Mackie
Alexander the Great slept with a dagger and a copy of the Iliad under his pillow
Read the full article
The ‘democracy of the dead’: why we should respect tradition
By Chiara Bertoglio
There is a reason that Athens survived and Sparta did not.
Read the full article
‘Emotion is utterly certain’: why the pro-life case can’t be won on facts
By Anna Nienhuis
Why have shocking videos about the sale of fetal body parts not changed public opinion?
Read the full article

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The implications of Africa’s population growth

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