IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/unu/wpaper/wp2014-053.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The prospects for an imminent demographic dividend in Africa: The case for cautious optimism

Author

Listed:
  • Basu, Alaka M.
  • Basu, Kaushik

Abstract

This paper looks at the prospects of a demographic dividend in Africa in the near future. While acknowledging that the fertility declines which change population age structures and thus dependency ratios have been slow to begin and often seem to have stalled once they have begun, we nevertheless conclude that there are many underlying features of Africa today which might hasten the process. These features have to do with some of the preconditions under which fertility fell in other parts of the world—such as economic development, social modernization, mortality decline and a rise in ‘natural’ fertility—but also include the fact that the global world today is again, after a hiatus, interested in and proactively working towards investments in voluntary family planning. All these conditions are conducive to faster fertility decline than in the past and with the right policies could allow the region to exploit this demographic window of opportunity. We also comment on some of the economic implications of a demographic dividend in Africa, including the helpful fact that when it occurs, the economic impact of a relatively larger labour force may be enhanced because of, unlike in some other parts of the world, the historical and cultural acceptance of women in the labour force.

Suggested Citation

  • Basu, Alaka M. & Basu, Kaushik, 2014. "The prospects for an imminent demographic dividend in Africa: The case for cautious optimism," WIDER Working Paper Series 053, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2014-053
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.wider.unu.edu/sites/default/files/wp2014-053.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pritchett, Lant H. & DEC, 1994. "Desired fertility and the impact of population policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1273, The World Bank.
    2. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
    3. Dilip Ratha & Sanket Mohapatra & Caglar Ozden & Sonia Plaza & William Shaw & Abebe Shimeles, 2011. "Leveraging Migration for Africa : Remittances, Skills, and Investments
      [Optimisation du phénomène migratoire pour l’Afrique : Envois de fonds, compétences et investissements]
      ," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2300.
    4. Robert M. Solow, 1994. "Perspectives on Growth Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 45-54, Winter.
    5. David E. Bloom & David Canning, 2003. "Contraception and the Celtic Tiger," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 34(3), pages 229-247.
    6. Martha J. Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; age distribution; family planning; health;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2014-053. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mauricio Roa Grisales). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/widerfi.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.