UNICEF Reports Demographic Shift in Africa
By admin November 1, 2017

UNICEF released a report this week regarding the projected increase in Africa’s child population. The population of children in Africa is projected to increase by 170 million in the next 13 years, according to UNESCO study: “A Generation 2030 Africa 2.0.” The report reviews the demographic transition occurring in Africa to gain a better understanding of the trends and opportunities shaping the continent. Demographic shifts are being driven mostly by decreased infant mortality rates combined with high fertility rates, as well as an increase in the number of woman who have reached reproductive age.

The number of under-18’s is estimated to reach 750 million by the year 2030, putting significant strain on a system already stretched thin. Such population growth will necessitate an increase in resources, including an additional 11 million skilled education and health personnel by the year 2030 – in order to meet international healthcare standards as well as best practices in education. Africa will have to add 5.6 million health workers as well as an additional 5.8 million teachers. By 2030 Africa will experience a 33 percent increase in the number of primary school children. School which now have 189 million pupils people will need additional resources to accommodate the 251 million new students. According to the report, almost half of the continent’s population is compromised of those under-18, and in about a third of the 55 African nations on the continent, children under-18 are a majority of the national population.

Marie-Peirre Poirier, who is the regional director for UNICEF in West and Central Africa spoke to the value of increasing investments geared towards children in Africa. If Africa is able to transform its existing educational system as well as empower females to participate more equally in society, it will enable Africa to reap deeper rewards from the demographic transition already occurring. According to the study, if Africa is able to transform the systems which service youth, Africa may be able to reap a demographic dividend that results in a four-fold per capita increase by 2050. If such investments do not occur then the African continent may be faced with a demographic disaster in which there is a paucity of necessary services to empower, protect and enable a growing generation of African children.

The UNICEF report detailed three policy actions that would create favorable conditions for Africa’s new generation. The first is to ensure services that engender the overall health, social welfare and protection of citizen so as to meet international standards.  The second is to adapt Africa educational and vocational systems through technology access and curriculum reform so emerging students are equipped with skills that enable them in a global employment market. The third is to ensure protection from violence, exploitation, child marriage and abuse as well as remove the existing barriers that prevent African woman from participating fully and equally in society.  In addition to accommodating new students, UNESCO asserts that the fastest ways to reduce fertility and poverty is to provide woman with education. Woman in sub-Sahara Africa have on average 6.7 children while the number decrease to 3.9 for those with secondary education. Considering the immense demographic shift it is necessary that Africa is able to respond adeptly to ensure that they can meet a changing population with the resources it needs.


Read the report Here:

Dividend or Disaster: UNICEF’s new report into population growth in Africa


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