Africa’s Population Growth Could Undermine Sustainability Goals

If the world’s fertility rates remain constant, global population would more than triple and reach 26 billion by the end of the century. However, many demographers assume fertility rates will ease. The most commonly used projection assumes that global fertility rates decline to 2 births per women from the present global average of 2.5 births – suggesting that the world’s population will climb to 11 billion just before the end of the century. In either scenario, Africa is rapidly growing with 20 African nations posting fertility rates in excess of five children per woman. Demographer Joseph Chamie argues that stabilization of world population is the paramount issue of the 21st century, and he urges policymakers to aim for this goal: “To do otherwise jeopardizes efforts to achieve universally adopted sustainable development goals, including ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.”