The World Region
Between now and 2050, Africa will add over 1 billion people to its population.
That’s a startling statement about something that’s 30 years in the future. One group with a record of making such long-range projections is demographers like Dr. John May with the Population Reference Bureau.
In our discussion with John, he explains that the growth and structure of populations is linked to one fundamental issue: mortality rates. When infant and child mortality rates decline, fertility rates also eventually decline and population growth slows down. And as life expectancies increase, the share of older people in a country’s population goes up.
But it turns out things are a bit more complicated than that, and there are large implications for public policy that are ultimately driven by demography.
Even when a region like Africa has declining fertility rates, “population momentum” means that countries will continue to grow. With this growth comes the need for better infrastructure, services, and crucially, jobs.
By one estimate, the global economy will need to add 600 million jobs over the next 10 years - mostly in Africa and Asia - just to keep up with young people entering the workforce.
So how is demography shaping our future, and how can we make it the future we want?
This episode of Between 2 Geeks is hosted by Tariq Khokhar & Raka Banerjee, and produced by Richard Miron. You can chat with us on twitter with the hashtag #Between2Geeks , listen to new episodes on the World Bank Soundcloud Channel and subscribe to “World Bank’s Podcasts” in your podcast app or on iTunes.
Nearly 1.1 billion people or 15 percent of the world’s population had no access to electricity in 2014. Nearly half were in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, and nearly a third were rural dwellers in South Asia. In all, 86 percent of people without electricity lived in rural areas, where providing infrastructure is more challenging. Read more in the Global Tracking Framework and their 2017 report on progress towards sustainable energy.
I find data to be a great way of getting into a subject.
Take forests for example. Making this map about where forests have been lost and gained since 1990 led me down a wonderful rabbit hole of learning about China’s successful reforestation programs, how forests support people’s livelihoods, the definitions of what counts as a forest (hint: it’s not just “a bunch of trees”), and how organizations use a variety of sources from nationals surveys to satellite imagery to produce this data.
Not only is there a story behind every number, but numbers can help to tell the story of development.
We’ve got a great lineup of guests, and discuss topics including Africa’s “demographic dividend” - how population structures are shaping the future of the region; a new risk insurance mechanism designed to help stop pandemics like the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak; and how metadata from cell phone networks can be used to estimate measures of migration and poverty.
Just like the forest map, I’ve found each episode to be a peek into the rabbit hole of a new subject - I’ve learned how to better communicate about uncertainty, the economics of large scale renewable energy systems, and what the future of how data is produced and used may look like.
We’ve really enjoyed making the first series of this podcast and we hope you’ll tune in. The opening episode will be available on Tuesday April 4th - it’ll be posted here on The Data Blog, on the World Bank’s SoundCloud channel, and you can subscribe to “World Bank’s Podcasts” in your podcast app or on iTunes.
In most regions of the world, over 70 percent of freshwater is used for agriculture. By 2050, feeding a planet of 9 billion people will require an estimated 50 percent increase in agricultural production and a 15 percent increase in water withdrawals.
The development community has experienced various “revolutions” over the years – from microfinance to women’s rights, from the green revolution to sustainable development. Each of these awakenings has improved our understanding of the challenges we face; each has transformed the development landscape, mostly for the better.
We now see the beginnings of another, long-overdue, revolution: this one focused on the fundamental role of land in sustainable development. Land has often been at the root of revolutions, but the coming land revolution is not about overthrowing old orders. It is based on the basic fact that much of the world has never gotten around to legally documenting land rights. According to the World Bank, only 10% of land in rural Africa and 30% of land globally is documented. This gap is the cause of widespread chaos and dysfunction around the world.
Over the last 25 years Brazil lost around half a million square kilometers of forest - around the same area that China gained. Since 1990, the growing demand for forest products and for agricultural land has contributed to an average annual loss of 50,000 square kilometers of forest globally - an area the size of Costa Rica. Read more in "Five forest figures for the International Day of Forests."