Population dynamics and demographic change

© GIZ/Markus Kirchgessner

GIZ advises governments with a view to enabling them to analyze, anticipate and manage the consequences of demographic change – and shape them for sustainable development.

Migration, urbanisation and demographic transition are changing the face of the world. By 2050, the global population is expected to have grown to 9.7 billion from todays 7.7 billion. With the exception of Europe, all continents will have larger populations, especially Africa. At the same time, the age structure of the world’s population is also changing. While the proportion of elder people in societies is set to increase worldwide, particularly countries in Sub-Saharan Africa still have very youthful populations. At present, 43 per cent of the population is still under the age of 15.

Demographic change generates challenges, but also opportunities for economic development. A large number of young people can create a ‘demographic dividend’, resulting in increased economic output. However, this requires legal certainty and investments in health, education and the labour market.

Population growth is fastest in the poorest countries, and is becoming increasingly concentrated in cities. These countries therefore face challenges when it comes to supplying food, water, land and energy. Demographic trends are also giving rise to increased requirements in the fields of education, employment, social security, health and governance.

Anticipatory, needs-based and sustainable planning and policies are based on the development and promotion of ‘demographic competence’. Thus, sustainable development requires not only demographic analyses, but also the capacity to interpret and use reliable data. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ therefore supports its partner countries in demographically sensitive policy design.

This work focuses on three main areas of activity:

  1. International and bilateral policy dialogue
  2. Demographic data for evidence-based policy planning
  3. Youth promotion and the ‘demographic dividend’