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Keywords:

  • demographic dividend;
  • demographic transition;
  • dependency burden;
  • economic development;
  • fertility decline;
  • sub-Saharan Africa

The demographic transition, from high to low mortality and fertility, entails several decades during which a country's dependency ratio falls, bringing a demographic dividend to which a third of East Asia's late twentieth-century economic growth ‘miracle’ has been attributed. Can a similar miracle be expected in sub-Saharan Africa in the next few decades, or will relentless population pressure prevent this?