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- From the early 2020s the populations of China and Africa will undergo a marked divergence from today’s population of around 1.4 billion – downward in the case of China and upward in Africa. What happens socio-economically, the divergence will significantly affect the size of the world economy in the coming decades.
- China’s population decline occurs because China’s economy has reached the upper-middle income threshold per capita and is expected to be able to maintain economic momentum despite both population decline and an aging population. In the case of Africa, by contrast, most countries remain low or lower-middle income per capita, and per capita growth is insufficient to maintain today’s living standards, let alone raise them.
- China’s unique family and economic planning system means that China has planned for this period of economic demographic change within its long-term development plan – since the 1980s when it was both demographically young and economically poor. This no longer intensively proactive approach to population aging does not mean that China will be successful in navigating the risks of its next phase of development. However, this does mean that China is somewhat prepared, perhaps better than comparable countries, and includes how China is taking a different, earlier stage of development in Africa as part of its potential upcoming growth story. Apna companies have been deployed to tap the stage.
- China’s ‘get old before you get rich’-inspired model of development that values both economic and demographic change, and their interactions over time, is important to understand both directly and indirectly for Africa. Directly, because it provides a useful economic development reference point for all African economies, and indirectly because it helps to understand what shape China’s next phase of development might take and therefore its implications for Africa. What is the meaning.
- 2020, and the aftermath of the pandemic, has brought many new opportunities and challenges for the economies of both China and Africa. Understanding the demographic trends underpinning them and what they mean for the economy will help policymakers deal with the associated independent and interdependent risks and understand the associated opportunities.