Back to Africa

(Chart courtesy Washington Post)

(Chart courtesy Washington Post)

The world is set to get more crowded by 2100, but it might surprise you to learn that almost all the increase is coming to just one continent:

The UN’s projections for Africa are pretty mind-blowing. Africa is expected to more than double its population by 2100. Africa currently accounts for 16 percent of the global population. The UN expects that proportion to rise to 25 percent in 2050 and 49 percent by 2100.

That’s mostly because the continent is so young, and partly because fertility rates are high. Exactly half of the continent’s population was under the age of 24 in 2015. Many of these people will have children of their own in the next few decades, adding greatly to the global total.

In contrast, the chart above shows the UN expects Asia’s population to peak and then begin to fall, since many Asian countries have aging populations. Latin America, Europe, Northern America and Oceania will mostly stay pretty constant.

The challenge is going to be finding enough food and work for that many people. Africa’s infrastructure is inadequate to today’s needs, but the population is set to triple in the next 85 years.

African capitals had better act fast at dropping the aged Marxian anti-colonial gripes, and get serious about establishing competent governments able to ensure the economic growth those three additional billion people will need to survive.