Professor He Wenping, Director in-charge of the Africa Research Office, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said more should be done to effectively tackle the fast-growing population.
“Africa could overtake China in the nearest possible future in terms of population,” and she warned that this might come with its own development challenges if carefully thought-out control measures were not instituted.
Prof Wenping, speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a seminar at Beijing, China, said population explosion could result in high unemployment rate, especially among the young people.
The seminar was part of a month training programme, organized jointly by Ghana’s Ministry of Information (MoI) and China International Publishing Group (CIPG) Training Center.
It was sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China.
While population growth has slowed down in the many of the continents, it is continuing to rise in Africa.
The United Nations Population Division estimates that the continent is now home to more than one billion people, up from 477 million in 1980.
Prof Wenping predicted that by the year 2050, annual increases would exceed 42 million people per year and total population would double to about 2.4 billion.
She said China faced similar challenges more than three decades ago, culminating in the country’s ‘one child policy, something that was essential in the management of the country’s resources for economic prosperity.
Population growth leads to overstretching of any nation’s resources and she said it could undermine Africa’s socio-economic progress if it was not tackled with head-on.
Prof. Wenping had earlier delivered a paper on the topic “China’s Political System and Chinese Leaders’ Concept of Governance” where she called for African leaders to remain focused as they worked to bring development to their peoples.
They should fight corruption on all fronts and to invest in research, science and technology to order find solutions to the continent’s development challenges.