Will Africa overcome challenges and reap its demographic dividend?

Sunilchandra Dal
Saturday, 30 June 2018

‘Migration a boon for Africa’
UN News has carried a report that says migration is a boon for Africa. “Cross-border movement offers a chance for a better life, with the social and economic benefits extending to both source and destination countries, as well as future generations,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), launching the agency’s Economic Development in Africa report. “Our analysis shows this to be true for millions of African migrants and their families,” he said, adding that public perception, “Particularly as it relates to international African migration, is rife with misconceptions that have become part of a divisive, misleading and harmful narrative.” According to the report, remittances reaching back home from migrants both outside and inside Africa rose on average from $38.4 billion between 2005-2007 to $64.9 billion, during the two-year period up to the end of 2016. By that point, remittances accounted for over half of the capital flows within the continent.

According to UN News, some 19 million international migrants moved within Africa and 17 million Africans left the continent last year. These people have been forced to flee abroad to save their lives and find safety and livelihood. Yet, experts are predicting that the future lies in Africa. They feel that though Africa faces these challenges, it is also poised to have a huge demographic dividend. Some experts say that the future lies in Africa.

Salih Booker and Ari Rickman of Center for International Policy write in The Washington Post that beginning in 2035, the number of young people reaching working age in Africa will exceed that of the rest of the world combined and will continue every year for the rest of the century. By 2050, one in every four humans will be African. At the end of the century, nearly 40 per cent of the world’s population will be African. 

This is a huge demographic dividend which will add to Africa’s economic importance. These experts estimate that by 2030, 43 per cent of all Africans are projected to join the ranks of the global middle and upper classes. 

Adrian Monck, writing for the World Economic Forum, says that by 2030, household consumption is expected to reach $2.5 trillion. Nearly half of that will be spent in Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa. There will be lucrative opportunities in Algeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia.

Monck also writes that in the next 15 years, the ageing populations in Europe, America, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan will put  sub-Sahara Africa in a unique position to fill the demand for labour. He says China is at the fringes of its high growth, cheap labour era. There are now other countries with cheaper labour and are poised to inherit the China growth model. Private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting or Stratfor identifies 16 countries, which it calls the Post-China 16, which are best positioned to take over as global manufacturing hubs. These include Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. 

‘Migration a boon for Africa’
UN News has carried a report that says migration is a boon for Africa. “Cross-border movement offers a chance for a better life, with the social and economic benefits extending to both source and destination countries, as well as future generations,” said Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), launching the agency’s Economic Development in Africa report. “Our analysis shows this to be true for millions of African migrants and their families,” he said, adding that public perception, “Particularly as it relates to international African migration, is rife with misconceptions that have become part of a divisive, misleading and harmful narrative.” According to the report, remittances reaching back home from migrants both outside and inside Africa rose on average from $38.4 billion between 2005-2007 to $64.9 billion, during the two-year period up to the end of 2016. By that point, remittances accounted for over half of the capital flows within the continent.

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