The Economist Examines Africa’s Demographic Transition
The Economist examines how Africa’s economic growth is resulting in a demographic transition “that others have already traced: as people get richer, they have fewer children” and poses the question: “Can Africa capitalise on the demographic dividend?”
Despite slowed population growth, food and water shortages continue to grip the continent and “[t]he task of providing for hungry and thirsty people will be complicated by climate change,” the magazine writes. As a result of its demographic transition, “Africa will suffer less from these afflictions than it otherwise would. But it cannot remove them altogether, because the continentâ€™s population will continue to grow, albeit more slowly.” Additionally, “HIV/AIDS is damaging that very section of the populationâ€”working-age adultsâ€”on which the demographic dividend depends.”
TheÂ article concludes: “Demography needs to be put in perspective. It is not destiny. Africa needs a green revolution; more efficient cities; more female education; honest governments; better economic policies. Without those things, Africa will not reap its demographic dividend. But without the transition that Africa has started upon, the continentâ€™s chances of achieving those good things would be even lower than they are. Demography is a start” (8/27).
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