One of every 13 child births in the world will occur in Nigeria by 2050, a new report by the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, reveals.
According to the report, Nigeria currently accounts for 20 per cent of all births in Africa, and five per cent of the global total.
A previous UNICEF report had stated that five countries accounted for half of all infant mortality last year, with Nigeria having the third highest rate.
UNICEF’s “Generation 2030 Africa 2.0 Report” released on Thursday states that: “Based on current projections, by 2050, one of every 13 births globally will occur in Nigeria.”
The global agency projects Africa’s child population to increase by 170 million by 2030, meaning that the number of African children will top one billion by 2055.
To cope with the burden of the rapid growing population, UNICEF says Africa has to add 5.6 million new health workers and 5.8 million new teachers by 2030.
It says the continent also has to add 11 million skilled education and health personnel by 2030, to keep pace with the unprecedented demographic transition.
“Investing in health, protection, and education must become an absolute priority for Africa between now and 2030,” UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Leila Pakkala, said.
The report identifies three key issues for investment: health care, education, protection and empowerment of women and girls.
“We are at the most critical juncture for Africa’s children. Get it right, and we set the foundation for a demographic dividend, which could lift hundreds of millions out of extreme poverty, and contribute to enhanced prosperity, stability, and peace,” says Ms. Pakkala.
The report says almost half of the continent’s population is under 18 years old, and children comprise the majority of the population in about one third of the 55 African Union member states.
It urges African countries to secure and ensure protection of children from violence, exploitation, child marriage and abuse.
The report also urges African countries to remove barriers preventing women and girls from participating fully in community, workplace, and political life with enhanced access to reproductive health services.