Student Essay: Is Africa’s Growing Population a Threat to the SDG’s?

October 14, 2015 • Daily Email Recap

Is Africa’s growing population a threat to the Sustainable Development Goals?
Recent estimates of Africa’s population indicate that in less than three generations, 41% of the world’s youth will be African (Ibrahim, 2012). Proponents of population growth postulate that this could act as a dynamic engine for agricultural growth and technological innovation. In contrast, pessimists predict that impending doom is correlated with this population growth given challenges such as food insecurity, depleting natural resources, rising unemployment, political instability as well as heterogeneous limits to growth in the continent’s economic prospects. The underlying limitation in these claims lies in understanding precisely how Africa can transform this population boom into economic gains to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
First, African countries will only reap a sizeable demographic dividend, if fertility rates decline rapidly. In light of the East Asian miracle, conventional theory posits that socio-economic development is a key determinant of fertility decline (Notestein, 1953; Easterlin, 1975). This experience offers valuable lessons for African countries, to focus on socio-economic development as an initial condition towards fertility decline. By declining mortality as well as fertility, East Asia experienced a rapid demographic transition between 1965 and 1990, leading to a growth in the working age-population of four times compared to the young and elderly dependants, which primarily reduced the dependency ratio (Bloom et al., 2002).

Current World Population


Net Growth During Your Visit