Preparing for Africa's Young Future

Konye Obaji Ori* [caption id="attachment_11051" align="alignleft" width="480"]FILE PHOTO© REUTERS FILE PHOTO© REUTERS[/caption] The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has asked African leaders to invest in health, education and protection of youths in order to take advantage of projected demographic shifts in the continent. The UN estimates a huge growth in the population of Africa’s young people with the continents under-18 age group expected to hit a billion by 2050. A United Nations Population Division (UNPD) report on Tuesday suggested that about 40% of all the world’s children will be in Africa by 2050. “The seismic demographic shifts that Africa’s child population will experience are among the most important questions facing the continent, and indeed vital issues for the world,” the report says. Following the report, Unicef’s regional director for eastern and southern Africa, Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, called on leaders to invest in youth development She argued that the continent could realise the economic benefits that other regions realised when they had a similar demographic shift. “This report must be a catalyst for global, regional and national dialogue on Africa’s children,” Gharagozloo-Pakkala said. Over the next 35 years, almost two billion babies will be born in Africa due to the rising numbers of women of reproductive age. UNPD estimates that the continent’s population will double in size due to high fertility rates in the continent. The report placed emphasis on Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. Nigeria has the highest number of births in Africa, and will account for almost one in 10 births globally by 2050, according to the UNPD report. Although UNPD estimates a populous young African demographic, the continent currently accounts for about half of the world’s child mortality incidents. According to the Generation 2030/Africa Report released by Unicef, 70% per cent of the world’s child mortality rates could occur in Africa, by 2050. *Source theafricareport]]>

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