Getting to Africa’s Demographic Dividend
The purpose of this report is to explore the timing and conditions for African states’ achieving a demographic dividend that can accelerate the rate of improvement in livelihoods. To that end, the first part of this report presents a definition of the demographic dividend that is used for the subsequent interpretation, introduces the methodology for the associated forecasts and then examines, on a comparative basis, the nature and timing of Africa’s demographic dividend. It finds that Africa’s high youth dependency ratios structurally determine African states’ inability to raise incomes rapidly enough to reduce poverty and provide improved livelihoods, although the inability to industrialize, corruption and governance quality all play a role as well. Current forecasts indicate that the large majority of African states will only benefit from a demographic dividend by mid-century or later. A penultimate section explores the effects of a set of interventions seeking to advance Africa’s demographic dividend along with the impact on incomes, levels of poverty and other indices of well-being, and quantifies the associated benefits. The report calls for much more determined efforts to advance the continent’s demographic dividend and offers a number of associated policy recommendations.