A UK-based think-tank has come out with a report saying that African children will make up nearly half the world’s poorest people by 2030 unless current trends in the continent are reversed.
The report paints a concise picture even showing that African children already make up a quarter of the total global figure even now. Think-tank Overseas Development Institute explores in their report, which you can download here, the implications of demographic trends in Africa for the changing age profile of world poverty and for the region’s development prospects.
Their report does not slack in providing possible solutions as they state that education is critical in avoiding the eventuality. If Africa is able to provide quality learning opportunities to African children, education which is a proven catalyst for development would help to offset some of the worrying trends.
Expansion of reproductive health care, promotion of gender equity, measures to reduce early marriage, and cash transfers targeting child poverty are also enumerated as critical ingredients for change and African governments and the wider international community are encouraged to do more towards those goals.
The next 15 years will see Africa accounting for an increasing share of the world’s under-five population, adolescents, and new entrants to the workforce, it could either be a disadvantage or an advantage depending on how the government shores up on policy issues that hinder development.
According to the Overseas Development Institute;
“With the right mix of policies in place, Africa could accelerate the pace of demographic transition – and reap a dividend from a rising generation of youth. There are valuable lessons to be drawn from other regions and some countries in Africa itself. But governments need to wake up to the demographic opportunity as a matter of urgency.”
A pledge to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 is already in place in the SDGs and there is an explicit commitment in the SDG framework to ensure that targets are met ‘for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society,’ with an endeavour ‘to reach the furthest behind first’. To do all that, African children must be brought to the forefront and this report is a very helpful as an action plan.