With a population set to more than double by 2050 to over two billion inhabitants, half of whom will be under 25, Africa is facing unprecedented structural challenges. Population growth is an opportunity for economic growth, but it will undoubtedly upset regional equilibria. Those upsets will mean making in-depth changes to the approaches taken as regards development policy. This is what emerges from the 2015 edition of the African Economic Outlook, in which several CIRAD researchers participated, which was published recently.
The report contains thematic chapters whose topic varies each year. It is regional development that is the topic for the 2015 edition, of which CIRAD was scientific coordinator.
According to the Report, the African continent is predicted to receive a “demographic dividend” and to benefit for a few decades from a greater number of workers than of unemployed. This situation will free up potential to save, invest and boost incomes.
However, the report also contains a warning: it will be necessary to change the perspective of development policies, or else this “demographic dividend” will be lost and there will be a significant risk of a hitherto unseen rise in poverty and risks of conflict. This gift of more inhabitants and workers is an asset for the continent, on one condition: that the subsequent growth is inclusive and creates jobs.