News / Africa

    Africa to Record Largest Population Growth Over Next 40 Years

    A woman poses for a  photograph with her children in front of house in the slum of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria, January 22, 2013
    A woman poses for a photograph with her children in front of house in the slum of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria, January 22, 2013
    Jennifer Lazuta
    A new report predicts that sub-Saharan Africa will record the world's largest population growth between now and 2050.  According to the Population Reference Bureau, the world's poorest region will more than double in population, from 1.1 billion to 2.4 billion. 
     
    By the year 2050, the report states Africa's population is likely to grow by a staggering 1.3 billion people -- the largest growth of any region in the world, including Asia, which currently has about 60 percent of people on the planet.

    Sub-Saharan Africa, where fertility rates are among the highest in the world, will account for the majority of the increase.  In sub-Saharan Africa, the population is expected to grow from 926 million people to nearly 2.2 billion people.

    Africa's population explosion has the potential to zoom past current estimates, said Carl Haub, a senior demographer at the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington-based non-profit group. 
     
    “Sub-Saharan Africa has, without a doubt, the greatest population growth potential of any region," said Haub.  "The projection today is that it will increase by about two and a half times.  But the important thing to remember is that even that projection assumes that the birth ate in sub-Saharan Africa will decrease.  And in many of those countries today, it [has] not.”
     
    People crowd a street in a market in Lagos, which is expected to overtake Cairo soon as Africa's largest city.People crowd a street in a market in Lagos, which is expected to overtake Cairo soon as Africa's largest city.
    x
    People crowd a street in a market in Lagos, which is expected to overtake Cairo soon as Africa's largest city.
    People crowd a street in a market in Lagos, which is expected to overtake Cairo soon as Africa's largest city.
    The Population Reference Bureau report shows that women in sub-Saharan Africa currently average 5.2 children during their lifetime, compared to averages of 1.6 in Europe and 1.9 in North America.
     
    In some African countries, such as Niger, the birth rate is as high as 7.6 children per woman.  And even the assumption that this rate will decline steadily over the coming decades, the population of Niger is still expected to nearly quadruple by 2050, according to Haub.
     
    In the past, population growth in many African countries was slowed by high rates of HIV/AIDS and infant mortality.  But recent improvements in access to health care across the continent mean that people are living longer.

    While this is a good thing, African countries must now actively work to reduce their fertility rates in order to keep future population growth in check, said Haub.
     
    “One of the main things is to include family planning services with maternal health.  And inform couples about the different methods and what they can do to either reduce the number of children or to space births out," he said.  "It’s much healthier for a woman to have at least two years between the births. And that’s had some success in a few countries.  I think it’s fair to say that in many of the other countries, the willingness to do that is really not there.”
     
    Haub added that if African populations do grow at projected rates - or even faster - it could lead to many problems, including higher rates of poverty and unemployment, and environmental degradation.  That trend might also affect foreign aid from donors, many of whose budgets are already strained by growing numbers of people who need assistance.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Feris Hrof
    October 09, 2013 7:50 AM
    I read somewhere that "The average woman in Somalia gives birth to 6 children". Africa is not and never was place for such birthrate where nature and way of life dictated demographics. People there were perfectly adapted to their ancient, and I am convinced happier way off life.

    European colonization distracted social structure by implanting alien urban environment not suitable for archaic tribal society. From self-dependent culture they became twisted copy of foreign never fully adopted way of life.

    In these countries there is never enough money for food, medicines and other necessities, but always enough for all kind of munitions. If they have money to by weapons and ammo, they could at least by some condoms too. If we are responsible for our children let them be responsible for their or... Also advertising starving children and at same time tolerating massive loosed armed gangs is pure hypocrisy.

    I can hardly find sympathy for those people, because abundance of their, from outside supported children, will one they become same irresponsible "fathers", "mothers" and gang fighters.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora