Supporting Demographic Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa

20th September 2022
Author: Evert-jan Quak

Climate Change, Conflict, Demographics, Population, Work and Labour

Sustainable Development Goals

10.  Reduced Inequality, 13.  Climate Action, 5.    Gender Equality, 8.    Decent Work and Economic Growth

The resources in this learning package build upon the work, discussions and evidence generated from the K4D learning journey ‘Supporting Demographic Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa’.

In sub-Saharan Africa, population growth continues at a high pace even when fertility rates will reduce significantly in the coming years. Countries in the sub-region are on a trajectory of an historically unique period of rapid population growth. Between now and 2050, the continent’s population is projected to double to 2.5 billion. Infant mortality rates have been declining and although in most countries fertility rates also are falling, this process was initiated later and is slower compared to other regions. These population predictions have potential impacts on conflicts, job markets, inequalities, and access to natural resources. On the other hand, when fertility rates will continue to go down, there is the opportunity of a demographic dividend as this will increase the share of the working-age population compared with non-working-age population (reducing the dependency ratio).

Understanding and influence in seizing the opportunity to accelerate a demographic transition and potentially unlock a demographic dividend in sub-Saharan Africa is important for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and for the prospect of sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Targeted support to governments and other institutions in the sub-region is needed to accelerate a voluntary decline in fertility alongside human capital investment and other supportive social and economic policies that offer a potential for economic growth, prosperity and poverty reduction.


The resources below have been selected due to their relevance to the learning package. Explore them to strengthen your understanding of supporting demographic transition in sub-Saharan Africa.

Continents, regions and countries