Africa's youth surge, and why it matters

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Date: Wednesday 14 December 2022

Time: 14:00 - 15:00

Date: Wednesday 14 December | Location: Online Webinar | Time: 14:00 – 15:00 (UTC)

Africa will account for one quarter of the global population by 2050 — compared to less than 10% in 1950 — and a third of the world's working-age population. This demographic surge will have wide-ranging consequences that Western businesses and investors urgently need to start considering more carefully. Demography will impact global issues — including trade patterns; labour markets; settlement patterns; food security; and climate change policy — as well as geopolitics, sport and fashion.

Population trends are usually considered in binary terms as being superb or catastrophic, and hyperbole is commonplace. In order to understand what Africa's growth will mean, we need to analyse the detail and complexity of the underlying aggregate figures. The reality is both fascinating and challenging in equal measure.

The webinar will cover:

  • Historical and future trends of 'the greatest demographic upheaval in history'
  • The demographic trends — by region, country, and within individual countries — and what this tells us
  • A rebuttal of the received wisdom and generalisations
  • Analysis of Africa's youthfulness and jobs statistics
  • Politics and demography
  • How Africa's demographic expansion will impact everything


Edward Paice is director of the Africa Research Institute independent think-tank which provides a forum for the discussion of issues of critical importance to the continent.

Edward studied history and subsequently was a visiting fellow at Magdalene College, Cambridge. After working as an investment analyst in the City he moved to Africa in the 1990s and began a new career as an author and historian. His published works include the critically acclaimed ‘Lost Lion of Empire’ and ‘Tip & Run: the untold story of the great war in Africa.’

The paperback edition of his Youthquake: Why African Demography Matters was published in November 2022.

Edward is a World Economic Forum thought leader on African topics and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.