This policy paper highlights what economic opportunities are likely to arise for Africa if fertility rates decline and a change of age structure sets in.
Africa lags behind the rest of the world in the vast majority of development indicators. The continent urgently needs more of its own ideas, its own minds, its own research and its own companies in order to achieve social and economic progress in the fastest and largest possible leaps. Progress is particularly needed in three key sectors that have been the foundation for socio-economic development around the world: Health, education and agriculture. The study shows examples of how governments, NGOs, social enterprises, as well as small and large companies in Africa are already engaging in several initiatives to tackle poverty, lack of prospects and high population growth. “Leapfrogging” is the technical term for such innovations that improve people's lives while skipping inefficient, costly and environmentally harmful transitional stages of development. The concepts range from simple health stations, which provide basic medical care even in remote areas, to online learning programmes, which have become even more important since the beginning of the corona pandemic, to micro-insurance systems that provide small farmers with coverage against weather-induced crop failures for little money.
The Berlin Institute would like to thank the Bayer AG for funding support. The study was carried out at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in Stellenbosch, South Africa.