Will declines in fertility boost economic growth for sub-Saharan Africa? In a region where demographic change is still at an early stage, can sub-Saharan Africa look forward to the promise of economic growth and its benefits, in the same way that East Asia has experienced? Can family planning programmes help to accelerate this demographic change, and how can they be most effective?
Demographers and economists look at fertility trends and at improved health and child survival in Africa, and ask whether Africa will benefit from a demographic dividend. This paper sets out to answer the following questions:
- How robust is the evidence, both macro and micro, that demographic changes can boost economic growth and what are the pathways of influence?
- What are the implications for sub-Saharan Africa, a region where demographic change is at an early stage?
- To what extent can family planning programmes accelerate demographic change?
- What are the key features of effective programmes?
Cleland, J. Helpdesk Report: Will Africa Benefit from a Demographic Dividend? Health and Education Advice and Resource Team (HEART), Oxford, UK (2012) 24 pp.