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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds We can briefly describe the world’s demographic reality and three words– namely, the world’s population is growing, it is aging, and it is moving. Of course it’s growing, but the important point is the rate of growth is slowing down. At a global level, the world population growth rate peaked way back in the mid-1960s and has been slowing down ever since. Still growing, but at a slower speed. This is particularly so in more developed countries– Europe, America, Japan, and even China– population growth rate is declining. By contrast, in Africa the population growth remains pretty high. As a result, the long-term projections suggest that by 2050 Africa’s population will be round about 2.4 billion. Today it is only 1 billion.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds That means in 2050 close to one quarter of the world’s population will be in Africa. But not only is the population of Europe and America and the like slowing down. It’s also getting old quite quickly. And therefore, as mentioned in an earlier session, one of the biggest concerns in the developed world is indeed that of population aging, whereas Africa’s population is still relatively young. Africa’s population is still growing quite quickly and a fairly young population, and this potentially puts more and more economic power into the hands of populations in Africa. Thirdly, the biggest movement of people on this planet is not so much from one country to another, but from rural to urban areas.

Skip to 1 minute and 47 seconds Now of course in developed worlds, most people have already urbanized, so the fastest growth in urbanization is happening in the developing world. And again, Africa comes to mind, although close to half of Africa’s population is still in rural areas, that ratio is changing. The years and decades that lie ahead, million upon millions and more millions of people will flock in Africa from rural to urban areas. Now, what about South Africa? Yes, our population growth rate is also slowing down. In fact, it’s barely 1.3% of the population growth in South Africa. And yes, we have a fairly young population. Not quite as young as the rest of Africa, but still young by most people’s standards.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 seconds Roughly 40% of this country’s population is below the age of 20. Meanwhile, as far as urbanization is concerned, we are more urbanized than most other countries in Africa. We reached a 60% urbanization rate some time ago, and we expect more to occur in again the years and decades that lie ahead. So the broad demographic picture of the world and Africa and South Africa is one of, at varying speeds, population growth slow down, aging, and then urbanization, for better or for worse. Urbanization has a number of potential benefits, but also a number of potential social concerns.

Demographic urbanisation

Watch this next video to see how we can describe the worlds demographic reality in three phrases: the worlds population is aging, growing and moving.

Reflect for a moment on your country. Is it being impacted significantly by demographic urbanization. Do you anticipate any change to this status in the next 10 years and why?

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This video is from the free online course:

Futurism and Business: Dealing with Complexity

University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development