africa’s population – the economist’s view

The Economist has two interesting pieces on the demographic trends in Africa. The first article notes that the fertility rates on the continent are finally beginning to come down. The second one discusses the chances that Africa will take advantage of the democratic dividend and execute its own green revolution.

As I have argued before, there is a great deal of economic sense in bringing population growth on the Continent under control – at least until people’s life options have been increased enough so that they can make well informed choices on the number of offspring to have. The usual critics of family planning measures – the Church and conspiracy theorists – should take some time to visit slums or rural homes in which overburdened, dis-empowered daughters of the Continent with little or no economic wherewithal run

4 thoughts on “africa’s population – the economist’s view

  1. I feel the article is already biased against Africans. Look at these quotes:

    Their duties barely advance them above a donkey: childbearing and rearing, working in the fields, fetching water from the crocodile-infested river, sweeping faeces from the straw huts.

    An emergent African middle class is taking out mortgages and moving into newly built flats—and two children is what they want.

    And finally, here’s the true reason for this article:

    consider that in 1950 there were two Europeans for every African; by 2050, on present trends, there will be two Africans for every European

    The performance of domestic duties does not relegate people to the status of donkeys! Just because we don’t have washing machines, tractors and flushing toilets does not make us animals!


  2. The Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi coined a term the ‘Single Story’.
    The ‘Single Story’ which afflicts how we the so called educated (Africans) see the world is pretty evident when I read or hear an African explain how over populated the continent is… I would take anything from the Economist with plenty of salt… I have not heard of anything critiquing the population of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore etc

    Africa is far from over populated; we are simply very very poor managers. We can not manage our resources to our advantage…. nor do we have the power to negotiate at a global level, however if you believe stuff like AGOA or other prescribed medicines are tailored to our advantage then I will leave you to your whims (delusions) and not comment anymore…

    Time permitting I would be more than happy to share my thoughts and my re-education with you, but as a word of caution we Africans should be very skeptical when we clamor for news outlets like BBC, CNN, The Economist blah blah blah and then claim to be informed!!… this news is not tailored or targeted to us (the Africans) it is tailored for Western audience (where ratings and corporate sponsoring matter)…What I am saying is that you do end up seeing yourself through the prism of these outlets.

    Thanks, Ken


  3. hey Ken,

    I totally agree with you – I am on record for saying that Africa is under-populated. But that said, I think that Africa’s population growth should be managed – and not just for resource reasons but also for social reasons. It is unsustainable to have such high dependency ratios – more than half of Africans are children. We need to have more people working than are dependent on them. That’s my take.



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