Investments in health and education in Sub-Saharan Africa will help increase GDP in the region by more than 90% by 2050, a new report has revealed. Gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period, often referred to as the size of the economy.
GDP growth is linked to an increase and expansion in businesses, jobs and personal income.
While 1 billion people have lifted themselves out of poverty over the past 20 years, rapid population growth in the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, puts future progress at risk. If current trends continue, the number of extremely poor people in the world could stop its two-decade decline- and could even rise.
This is according to an analysis from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a group that focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty.
The Foundation launched its second annual Goalkeepers Data Report this week, pointing to demographic trends that could stall unprecedented progress in reducing global poverty.
Despite the sobering projections, Bill and Melinda Gates express optimism that today’s growing youth populations could help drive progress. Investing in the health and education of young people in Africa could unlock productivity and innovation, leading to a ‘third wave’ of poverty reduction, which follows the first wave in China and the second in India.
“The conclusion is clear: To continue improving the human condition, our task now is to help create opportunities in Africa’s fastest-growing, poorest countries,” Bill and Melinda Gates said in a joint statement that is part of the report.
“This means investing in young people. Specifically, it means investing in their health and education,” they added.
The report was co-authored and edited by Bill and Melinda Gates and produced in partnership with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
Using new data projections, the report revealed that poverty within Africa is concentrating in just a handful of countries, which are among the fastest-growing in the world. By 2050, more than 40% of the extremely poor people in the world will live in just two countries: The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.
In the past, large youth populations have helped drive economic growth and poverty reduction. The report makes the case for leaders to invest in the power and potential of youth to continue progress. Through essays by experts and journalists, the report examines promising approaches in health and education, highlighting ways that young people could help transform the continent.
According to the analysis, investments in health and education, or ‘human capital’, in Sub-Saharan Africa could increase GDP in the region by more than 90% by 2050.
Bill and Melinda Gates will produce the Goalkeepers Data Report every year through 2030, timing it to an annual gathering of world leaders in New York City for the UN General Assembly. The report is designed to highlight best practices and help hold the Gates Foundation, its partners, and leaders around the world accountable. It aims to document not just what is working, but where the world is falling short.