Africa - Demographic Dividend or Divide?

This lengthy Economist article kind of rambles a bit, but touches on one of the biggest issues we'll face over the next few generations: Africa's progression towards peace and stability.


  1. I'm still not sure what I think about this. I've heard of Malthusian destruction before, but never truly understood the dynamics behind the theory. In applying this concept to Africa, one would think that they should have been forced back to subsistence-level conditions with the lack of technology and control in the region.

    Any other key takeaways out there? Can countries like Ghana (with Obama's recent visit helping a bunch) and Mozambique spread their success to neighbors? Is success infectious when it comes to sovereignty? One sure hopes so, no?

  2. On a similar note, I've read a number of articles lately stating that the calls for America's demise are mere empty cries; this is based largely on the fact that America's population is so much better situated for growth over the next couple decades than all of its main rivals. For example, this article argues that the US Dollar will not be surpassed by the Euro anytime soon due to "...relatively unfavorable demographics in the euro area...".

    A few months back I was introduced to political geography through a Foreign Policy article, and now Foreign Affairs (among others) has opened my eyes to political demographics. I'm beginning to wish I majored in poli sci...

  3. On the above question - how could success be infectious? The US helps boost Mexico's citizenry, sure, but as a nation Mexico is in pretty poor shape right now. It's borderline failed state status down there by the standard of protecting its own people and growing prosperity...

    Scott I'm trying to read through that political geography article, but can you give a quick thumbnail sketch of your understanding of political demographics if you have a second?

  4. I was thinking (perhaps, blindly hoping?) that if, say Botswana, saw Mozambique gain economic stability and political power within the region, they would perhaps try and emulate what Mozambique was able to do in hopes of achieving the same success. Could be a pipe dream, but seems logical in my very removed eye.

    Political geography basically states that geography (not people, nor ideas) have dictated the major political concepts and events of our past, and will do so in the future. For example, until central Asia (e.g. India/Pakistan/Afghanistan) is made up of logical state lines, geographically speaking, political turmoil will reign supreme. This, the theory goes, is due to the natural movement/settling of peoples based on geographical barriers.