Africa has a billion soccer fans, but doesn’t need a billion more

August 2, 2014 • Daily Email Recap

Guest commentary: Africa has a billion soccer fans, but doesn’t need a billion more 


My work in Mozambique was marked by World Cup fever. I arrived here a few weeks before the start of the games and soon joined fellow soccer-crazed fans in a crowded street-side café, careening my neck to cheer on the African teams shown on a low-quality projection on the side of a building.

For a sports lover like me, it was heaven.

At each commercial break, however — right through the final match — Coca-Cola reminded me why I was in Mozambique.”Whatever it takes to win a FIFA World Cup, we have!” the announcer boomed optimistically to his African target audience, while African players deftly maneuvered through defenders. “But our African teams have something even more powerful on their side … 1 billion fans!” continued the announcer. And the crowd went wild.

One billion.In 1990, Africa was home to around half that many, with 630 million people. Today’s actual African population stands at more than 1.1 billion. That’s 1.1 billion who are mostly young people who need primary education, safe water and fuel.They are farmers who need arable land to feed the continent. Young men who need jobs. On a continent that faces abysmal doctor-to-population ratios, all 1.1 billion will, at some point, need health care.
The United Nations estimates that, in 2050, there will be more than twice as many people as there are now. Africa will have to provide for a population of some 2.5 billion. But 2.5 billion people by 2050 is not a foregone conclusion.

Current World Population


Net Growth During Your Visit