Africa’s population explosion over next 35 years

A United Nations report has projected the world’s population to reach 11.2 billion by the end of the century. Africa alone will account for half of the population growth over the next 35 years.

The world’s population is expected to grow from its current level of 7.3 billion to 11.2 billion people by end of the century, according to a UN report released Wednesday, with the earth expected to add more than a billion people in the next 15 years alone.

India is expected to surpass China as the world’s must populous country in less than a decade, with fast-growing Nigeria on course to overtake the United States as the third most populous nation by 2050, the UN predicted.

Most of the growth will happen in developing regions, especially Africa, which will account for more than half the world’s population growth in the next 35 years.

“The large number of young people (in Africa) who will reach adulthood in the coming years and have children of their own, ensures that the region will play a central role in shaping the size and distribution of the world’s population over the coming decades,” the report said.

The demographic predictions are essential for creating and implementing the new global development goals being put into place later this year in place the UN Millenium Development Goals.

“While the global projections should not be cause for alarm, we must recognize that the concentration of population growth in the poorest countries presents a distinct set of challenges,” said John Wilmoth, head of the UN population division.

Rapid population growth, Wilmoth said, will make it “more difficult to eradicate poverty and inequality, to combat hunger and malnutrition, and to expand educational enrollment and health systems.”

According to the UN, nine countries will account for half of the world’s population growth between now and 2050: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the US, Indonesia and Ghana.

The report also takes note of global ageing, projecting the number of people age 60 and above should more than double by 2050. In Europe, more than 34 percent of the population will be over 60 years old by 2050.

Source: Reuters/dpa/AP