News / Africa

UN Report Predicts African Baby Boom

FILE - A United Nations report predicts a baby boom in Africa. Here, a woman carries her child in Nigeria's Kaduna State.
FILE - A United Nations report predicts a baby boom in Africa. Here, a woman carries her child in Nigeria's Kaduna State.
Anita Powell

The African continent is primed for a massive baby boom within the next four decades, a shift that the United Nations’ children’s agency says represents both a challenge and a huge opportunity.

By the year 2050, UNICEF predicts in a report released this week, Africa will be home to about 41 percent of the world’s births. By that time, one in four people on this planet will be African.

The boom is caused by several factors.  Africa is already home to one of the world’s youngest populations – and within the next few decades, those youngsters will reach reproductive age. The continent also has, for many reasons, high fertility rates and has seen a reduction in child mortality, meaning that more babies and children survive than ever before.

Africa’s booming population will shift global dynamics, said Thi Minh Ngo, a UNICEF economic and social policy specialist based in Dakar, Senegal.

"We can see that Africa is the one continent that keeps growing very fast in terms of population size, while the other parts of the world, the other regions like Asia and Europe, the sizes are going to stabilize," Ngo said. "… This rapid rise of population on the African continent is going to drive the wave of population across the globe in the next 30 to 50 years."

That growth won’t be universal, Ngo said. Some African nations, such as Botswana and South Africa, have relatively low fertility rates that are comparable to developed nations.

Most growth likely in East, West Africa

UNICEF predicts most of the boom will happen in East and West Africa, which have high fertility rates. 

Nigeria, whose 177 million people already make this the continent’s most populous nation, is projected to continue its rapid growth. It may account for one in 10 births by 2050 – and may even reach nearly half a billion people.

One bundle of joy, many parents say, is work enough.  But in the next 35 years, Africa’s women will give birth to nearly 2 billion of them – presenting a massive public policy challenge.

This is a double-edged sword for governments, Ngo said.

If they can begin to prepare immediately, she said, they can harness the power of that youthful, exuberant, productive population.

Youth investment needed

That means governments need to start looking urgently at health and education sectors, Ngo said.

“We need to invest much more” on youth, she said. “Otherwise, we are going to just be running behind the train of providing adequate services for this population.”

The population boom also presents “an amazing opportunity,” Ngo said. “You have this youth, which is a driving force for the continent, and that is unique to Africa because the other regions of the globe are actually witnessing aging of the population.” 

The United States’ post-World War II baby boom, which produced some 76 million babies, transformed the nation’s economy and society. 

Likewise, this continent’s baby boom is sure to have wide-ranging consequences for African societies, for world power dynamics and the world’s economy.

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid