Demographic dynamics in Africa: between continuity and rupture

Geraldine Duthe (INED)
Chrystal McMillan, Seminar Room 6
Session slots:
Wednesday 12 June, 16:15 - 18:00

Short abstract:

This panel will focus on contemporary demographic dynamics in Africa where transitions are unique at the global level, but also contrasted within the region and, at national levels, whithin sub-groups of the population.

Long abstract:

From a demographic perspective, Africa will experience very high population growth in the next decades. The demographic transitions characterizing the African populations are unique at the global level, but also contrasted within the region. Populations living in Southern and Eastern Africa faced the dramatic mortality crisis due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1990s. Despite recent progress on this epidemic as well as on malaria, mortality rates due to infectious diseases remain relatively high, while non-communicable diseases have become responsible for a large share of premature mortality. In terms of reproduction, North African countries had experienced very rapid - but fragile - reduction in fertility while several West and Central African countries are still characterized by very high fertility levels. This panel will focus on contemporary demographic dynamics (fertility and its proximate determinants, mortality and health) in Africa and their relation to a number of underlying factors: gender and generation relations, family structures, economic development, schooling, health care provision, urbanization, migration, and environment. Special attention will be paid to specific sub-groups of the population that contrast with national trends. These groups are specific from a socioeconomic, cultural or geographic perspective, and can be considered as forerunners - if they are advanced in the transition -, or on the contrary as groups who are "left behind". Studying these groups in varied countries will help understand the processes at play at the individual and contextual levels and help question existing public policies or the lack thereof.