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.

Chris Packham
17 January 2020

Chris Packham: we need to talk about population

In a landmark documentary on the BBC, Population Matters patron Chris Packham looks at the challenges of population growth, and makes an impassioned plea for it to become a core part of environmental debate.

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Thai mother and baby
29 February 2020

Reproductive health, family planning & ethics - case studies from Honduras, Thailand & Tanzania

How do reproductive health services and attitudes to family planning vary around the world?

Answers to these questions are crucial for those wanting to empower women and give them choices as to how many children to have and when to have them.

This free speaker event is organised by the London Group of Population Matters.

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Robin Maynard and Lagos media, World Population Day 2019
23 December 2019

2019 Year in Review

PM director Robin Maynard reviews a successful year for Population Matters, but one which brought much bad news about the planet.

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Crops in South Africa
11 December 2019

Larger population, larger people: humanity will require 80% more food by 2100

A new study shows that increases in average human height and weight, alongside population growth, could cause global food demand to soar.

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Kenyan woman with baby
28 November 2019

Unmet needs: conversations with the women left behind

Population Matters' Director, Robin Maynard, summarises events at this month's Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, and recounts his experience of meeting young women and their families in Africa's largest slum and surrounding rural communities.

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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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