A study of Africa's demographics – its youth and its growth – and what they mean for the continent, today and into the future, from an acclaimed expert on the subject.
Africa's population growth in the last 50 years has been unprecedented. During India's rapid phase of population growth between 1920 and 2020, its population increased by 5.2 times; during Europe's in the 19th century, growth was 2.2 times. Between 1950 and 2050, Africa's population is projected to have increased tenfold.
But what is most remarkable about Africa's demography is its youth. Almost 60% of the continent's population was younger than 25 years old. By 2050, it is estimated that 40% of all children born will be born in Africa. Economists call this phenomenon a 'youth bulge' – a temporary boom. Edward Paice proposes that it is rather a youthquake, with potentially enormous ramifications on the social, economic and political reality in Africa.
In Youthquake, Edward Paice presents the demographics and demographic trends of the 54 countries that make up the continent, along with their ramifications, both today and in the future. In Kenya, the sustained high fertility of ethnic Somalis in the north-east relative to all other ethnic groups means that they will move from the sixth most numerous population to fourth by 2030. This will have important ramifications on elections and the allocation of state resources. Elsewhere, Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world, with women bearing more than seven children each on average and is also the poorest country in the world. As its population grows, the strain to pull its people out of poverty becomes ever greater.
Rather than a panoply of promises for the glowing future of a post-boom Africa or a doom-laden array, Youthquake seeks to dispel the agenda-heavy received wisdom popular in accounts of Africa's demography, disaggregate the continent for a more nuanced analysis, and provide a balanced view of Africa's future.
'Superb ... Meticulously researched and written with tremendous lucidity and brio' William Boyd, Sunday Times.
'The definitive history of that war... Minutely detailed yet entirely engrossing' Sunday Telegraph.
'A masterful, damning, definitive account' Daily Mail.
'A very well researched and well written account of that extraordinary and fascinating sideshow of the First World War, the Anglo-German war in Africa' Antony Beevor.
'Gripping ... I wholeheartedly recommend this fascinating book' Daily Telegraph.