Policy highlights:

  • Africa has a very young population, high fertility rates and a growing life expectancy. Despite high, but declining, fertility rates, by 2100 Africa may house 3.4 or even 4 billion people. This video sends a cautionary message to development academics, policy-makers and practitioners. Population growth should be seen as the main challenge for the coming years, but yet it is neglected in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Population growth is now combined with rapid urbanization. In future, this may level out from fertility rates declining faster than expected, changing migration patterns or migration out of Africa, or disasters like disease or war. However, the assumption now is that by 2100, 70% of the African population will be in urban areas. Dietz explains how growth in urban areas will create a (further) demand explosion for shelter, food and services. Such demand is a strain to natural resources and increases the risk of conflict ­— at the expense of nature, biodiversity and climate stability.
  • These challenges are an important issue in terms of migration aspirations. Mobility, not stability, has been the norm in Africa. If Africa cannot manage the population challenge, youth may grow impatient and leave en masse. Increased incomes now allow for more out-migration from countries, which, according to Oxford migration specialists, is only met by in-migration numbers when a certain level of average income (€5000 per capita) is reached.
  • Predictions on a global scale include Africa looking more and more towards the East (China), which will make use of cheap and easy labour. Africa may become a battleground for competing blocks. Growth of metropoles combined with marginalization and conflict in the peripheries could result in some regions being seen as “l’afrique util” (useful Africa) and some becoming “l’afrique inutile” (useless Africa). Explosive situations will be created, potentially leading to revolution and/or out-migration. Egypt, with its high import rate and vulnerability to climate change, is a likely first candidate for an explosive situation.
  • To achieve the SDGs, policymakers should always consider the far-reaching cross-sectional influence of population growth in Africa, which has consequences for security, food production, climate change and the achievement of the SDGs.
Connected themes
Share this post

Related items

Digital Skills for Youth Employment in Africa

Digitalisation and technological advancements are changing the world of work and the skills needed for employment. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone an estimated 230 million jobs will require digital skills within the next decade offering employment opportunities for its ever growing youth population. However, young people in Africa face several barriers that prevent them to obtain the types of skills required for employment. The evidence synthesis paper published by INCLUDE explores the challenges and opportunities of this digital transformation and presents recommendations of how to equip Africa’s youth for the future of work.

+2
By Ruth van de Velde +2 more
A decent proposal: self-employment for women in Uganda

This blog is part of a case study that examined decent work in the context of the work lives of self-employed and rural women in central Uganda in collaboration with 100WEEKS, a cash transfer graduation programme.

Six key insights for green jobs for youth in Africa

The African green transition has the potential to create a plurality of job opportunities that help tackle the negative consequences of climate change: green jobs. To find out what is needed to facilitate green jobs for young people in Africa, INCLUDE and Palladium engaged in a collaborative research project in the context of the Challenge Fund for Youth Employment.

Siri profile picture
youth at work 2 pager
Youth @ Work: 5 pathways for change

How to address the African missing job crisis through green and digital jobs, while assuring that none is left behind? INCLUDE's recently published evidence synthesis paper series provides a number of potential solutions: they were discussed in the webinar series Youth@Work, from which we present five key insights.

Maya Turolla Profile
AERC Regional Policy Forum summary

The AERC hosted a virtual Regional Policy Forum on 28 March 2022. The forum brought together key stakeholders who play important roles in shaping new research findings, paving new policy directions, and initiating innovative practices in the areas of youth and employment.