State of the African Population Report 2012

Harnessing the Demographic Dividend for Africa’s Socio-Economic Development .

AIDS Accountability International co-wrote this report with the AUC.



The African Union Commission’s Department of Social Affairs and collaborating partners have been publishing the biennial reports on the State of the African Population since 2004. Over the years, the reports have been structured to reflect issues that intrinsically link Africa’s economic growth pattern to its population trends.  The first report focused on population and poverty challenges, while the second (2006) underlined the implications of population dynamics for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Evidence in this report shows that Africa’s dependent population shall in the coming years reduce whilst that of the productive population shall increase. Africa has a young and growing population and will account for about 29 per cent of the world’s population aged 15–24 by 2050. Furthermore, population projections indicate that the working age population in Africa is growing by 15.3 million people per annum, and this number is expected to increase over the coming decades. I find this report to be particularly important because it highlights the approaches Africa can take to benefit from this demographic dividend that certainly will not last forever.

While having a young and growing population presents opportunities in terms of having an abundant labour supply with much creative potential, it also means that African countries will need to engage in growth paths that generate jobs on a large scale to absorb the additional labour.

Despite myriads of global, regional and national affirmation of commitments to economic reforms by different AU Member States, it is perceived that some of these countries are not fully exploiting the demographic transition that is currently being experienced in Africa. This is indeed an exciting time for Africa. This is Africa’s time and I therefore call upon all stakeholders to combine their efforts in supporting Africa to take full advantage of the demographic dividend and translate it into socio-economic development.

Adv. Bience P. Gawanas,

AU Commissioner for Social Affairs

State of the African Population Harnessing the demographic dividend AIDS Accountability International