One Size Fits Not: A Typology of African Countries to Guide Investments in the Demographic Dividend

Bernard O. Onyango
Nyovani Madise, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
Nurudeen Alhassan, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
Eunice M. Williams, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
Eliya M. Zulu, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)

A one-size-fits-all raft of recommendations has largely underpinned advice for African countries to benefit from the demographic dividend. The recommendations fail to adequately capture significant variations in demographic and socio-economic outcomes in Africa and hence fail to provide contextualized recommendations. Using human development data from the World Bank database, our principal component and cluster analyses identifies four groupings that could guide investment actions. Two groups are composed of mainly Upper-middle and High-income countries in North and Southern Africa, and Small Island states with generally lower total fertility rates (mean TFR of 2.3 and 3.0 for Group 1 and 2 respectively). The third has mainly low or middle-income countries with a mean TFR of 4.9. The last group has outliers with very high fertility (mean TFR of 7.0) and low human capital. Regression analysis identified TFR, total dependency ratio, and mean years of schooling as the key determinants for national wealth.

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 Presented in Session 8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, & Inequality