The demographic bonus: How prepared is Africa for the gains?

  • T.O. Fadayomi Demography and Social Statistics Unit, Department of Economics and Development Studies, School of Social Sciences, Covenant University, Canaanland, OTA, Nigeria


This paper examines the prospects of Africa’s changing age structure in favor of a temporary surge in the proportion of the working age population and the possibility of benefitting from the implied human endowment via appropriate development strategies a la South-East Asia. An attempt to gauge the preparedness of sub-Saharan African countries in order to take advantage of the incipient demographic bonus, using South-East Asia as the platform of best practices, shows that sub-Saharan Africa must, on the average, grow the GDP to a higher level, reduce both public and private consumption expenditure in order to save and deepen more her investments in education at all levels and also enhance private spending on health. Besides, intra-African comparisons on the development efforts towards the attainment of the MDGs shows that a lot of sub-Saharan African countries are too slow to adapt to the changing age structure with appropriate social and human capital development policies and programs. Other important variables required, from the South-East Asian experience, are more investments in physical infrastructures, services and industrial production which are essential for employment generation in the economy.