Population in Africa

The vast and diverse continent of Africa is home to 1.3 billion people, or 17% of the global population. The population of Africa, in particular sub-Saharan Africa, is growing faster than anywhere else, due to slow progress in bringing down fertility rates.

More than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa. The 54 countries that make up the continent contain some of the world's most populous nations. Nigeria alone is currently home to over 200 million and its population is expected to double by 2050, making it the third largest country in the world.

Read our latest news stories and blog posts about population in Africa.

Florence with kids
4 November 2019

Cracking knuckles and counting kids

Population Matters’ Campaigns and Projects Officer, Florence Blondel, reflects on her family life in Uganda, and what it tells us about population growth in her home country, and across much of Africa. She also identifies some positive changes coming.

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African school kids
8 October 2019

High population density hurts child health, study finds

A continent-wide analysis of how different development factors affect the health of children in Africa found that child health is worst in countries with high population densities.

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Lion
4 July 2019

Human population density main driver of nature loss in Africa

A new study reveals that rapid human population growth is the biggest driver of environmental degradation in African countries, highlighting the urgent need for greater investment in family planning as a pathway to achieving biodiversity and sustainable development targets.

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Giraffe
12 April 2019

Human population growth squeezing out Serengeti wildlife, study shows

A new study reveals that rapid human population growth along the edge of the iconic Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is forcing wildlife to retreat to its core areas and endangering its ability to sustain life.

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28 March 2017

One step forward, two steps back in African economic development?

Despite significant progress in recent years, Malawi’s government is concerned that young Malawis will inherit only poverty as economic gains are neutralised by population growth. 

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18 September 2018

Tanzanian president: “birth control is for the lazy”

President Magufuli was speaking at a rally when he called on people to ignore advice on using birth control as it was coming from “foreigners with sinister motives”.

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7 September 2018

Egypt seeks fewer babies: South Korea wants more

Egypt’s government has announced welcome plans to curb its rapid population growth. Meanwhile, South Korea is adopting policies to increase its birth rate.

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5 July 2017

Africa: Demographic dividend or population disaster?

By 2050, more than half of the anticipated growth in global population is expected to occur in Africa. While some leaders see this as an economic opportunity, others can sense a looming disaster unless measures to control population and support family planning are put into place.

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