Conference: Asia and Africa in Transition

NEW DATES: 28-30 June 2021

Panel: Population policies, family planning and changing fertility rates in Asia and Africa

Conveners: Flemming Konradsen & Morten Mechlenborg Nørulf, School of Global Health, University of Copenhagen

Africa is the second most populous continent on the planet with its 1.3 billion people constituting approximately 17% of the world’s total population. By 2050, the total population will have doubled to 2.4 billion, according to the UN, and it is predicted that Africa will account for more than half of the expected global population increase by 2050.  Asia – still by far the world’s most populous continent – with its 4,6 billion people has seen a steady decline in the annual population growth rate (except for the years 1980-1989) with the 2019 rate being 0,89%. This is low compared to Africa’s 2,52% population growth (2019). The increasing life expectancy across Asia and Africa is a key factor in explaining the population growth. Another factor influencing population growth is the number of children born per women.

Over the past decades, the number of children born per woman has reduced significantly in the majority of countries in Africa but fertility rates remain higher than the global average of 2,47 children per woman compared with 4,44 children per women in Africa (2015-2020 estimates). The fertility rate is expected to continue to decline in Africa and Asia but with large differences across countries. A range of factors influences the national and regional fertility rates, for example, economic development, level of female education, cultural factors, degree of urbanization, uptake of family planning and implementation of public health programs with an impact on child mortality.  

Changes in fertility rates as well as other key demographic factors are among the most important determinants governing the societal and epidemiological transitions taking place in Africa and Asia.

This panel seeks to discuss the key factors (e.g. politics, human rights, logistics, public health policies, cultural and economic impacts) influencing fertility rates with a particular focus on population policies and family planning programs. An invited panel of experts, NGOs and researchers will respond to key questions and cases on the topic and the audience will be asked to join the discussion as well.