Kinshasa, 2016, capital of Republic of the Congo, and home to about 12 million people is one of the most populous cities in sub-Saharan Africa. Eduardo Soteras/AFP
The population of Africa is increasing rapidly. From an estimated 140 million in 1900, it had grown to a billion in 2010. According to United Nations “medium scenario” projections, this figure will rise to 2.5 billion in 2050 and more than 4 billion in 2100 (see figure below). Today, one out of six people on Earth live in Africa. These same projections predict that the proportion will be one in four in 2050 and more than one in three by 2100.
What are the reasons for this rapid growth? Will it continue? Will the African population inevitably quadruple by the end of the century?