Recent United Nations projections show that Africa’s population will grow from 1.4 billion in 2010 to 2.1 billion by 2050.

This growth will be driven principally by the least developed countries in the sub-Saharan region, where the population will increase from 1.2 billion to 1.8 billion over this period (United Nations, 2009).

It is estimated that 30 of the 49 sub-Saharan Africa countries are projected to at least double their population by 2050.

During the same period, more Africans will live in urban than in rural areas. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is heavily youthful; currently, about 43% of the total population is under the age of 15.

However, if fertility in the region can decline rapidly, as witnessed in the middleincome countries of East Asia, Africa’s population will be dominated by working age population and child dependency ratios will decline.

If the expanded labour force is well educated, skilled, healthy and gainfully employed, it will provide African countries with an impetus for accelerated economic growth known as the demographic dividend.

AFIDEP works to clarify the implications of these phenomenal population changes, including population growth, age structure changes, migration and urbanization, on Africa’s development prospects and ensure that decision-makers incorporate population dynamics in development planning.

For example, we generate and disseminate evidence to demonstrate the potential impact of the demographic dividend in accelerating socioeconomic development in Africa and linkages between population, environment and development.

We use the evidence on these issues to captivate and strengthen political will and policy responses to prioritize incorporation of population dynamics in development planning.

Over the next five years, we will reinforce this work by conducting national and regional analyses to inform specific policy and programme decisions; continuing to conduct comparative regional analyses to highlight these issues at various regional forums; strengthening the capacity of decision-makers in integrated planning, programme design, and implementation; and expanding our technical team working on these issues so we can respond rapidly to emerging knowledge needs.

Particular attention will be on expanding our work on the linkages between population, environment and development.