Africa has become an unprecedented biological, environmental, and socio-political experiment: It is the scene of the biggest population explosion the world has ever seen. According to authoritative figures published by UNICEF in 2014, the number of Africans will grow from 1.033 billion in 2013 to a mammoth 4.2 billion in 2100. In the next 35 years alone, two billion African babies will be born. By 2100, half of all children on earth will be African. These are not simply straight-line projections of present trends, but the best estimates based on current data and historical precedents. This population explosion has huge implications not only for Africa but for the entire world.
In the terse language of the UNICEF demographers we learn that:
The future of humanity is increasingly African. More than half the projected 2.2 billion rise in the world population in 2015-2050 is expected to take place in Africa, even though the continent’s population growth rate will slow. On current trends, within 35 years, 1 in every 4 people will be African, rising to 4 in 10 people by the end of the century. Back in 1950, only 9 among 100 of the world’s number of inhabitants were African.
Over the last 60 years, thanks to Western healthcare, better nutrition, and large amounts of aid, infant death rates declined on the continent, and its population quadrupled from 200 million in 1950. The population will quadruple yet again over the next 60 years, meaning that in the 150 years from 1950 to 2100, the continent’s population would have increased by a staggering 1,830 percent.
Many European countries have just a few million people. For Slovaks or Latvians, for example, Germany, with its 80 million people feels like an overpowering presence. China (1.4 billion), India (1.3 billion), the USA (323 million), and Indonesia (253 million) are also huge.
But Nigeria alone already has a population of 178 million–more than double the size of Germany–and over the next 35 years 21 percent of all African and 8 percent of world births will be Nigerian. By 2100, assuming current projections hold, Nigeria will have a population of 914 million, and will rival China and India as a demographic superpower. Other African nations are growing even more rapidly.
The country with the fastest population growth in Africa is Niger, which has a population of “only” 19 million people–which still puts it ahead of the Netherlands. Niger’s women have the highest adolescent fertility rate in the world, and an average of 7.5 children each. Current projections are of a 226 percent rise from 2015 to 2050 in the number of children in Niger, with the nation’s population rising to 204 million in 2100. This is projected growth of 1,073 percent in just 85 years, and at 204 million people, its population would rival that of Brazil today.
European populations in decline
Only a little over a century ago, Europeans were still 25 percent of the world population. In 1950, there were nearly twice as many Europeans as Africans, but in 1996, Africa’s population surpassed that of Europe. In 2010, according to UN figures, the population of continental Europe was 740 million, or only 11 percent of the global population. Even adding the 250 million or so people of European descent in North America, Australia/New Zealand and South Africa/Namibia brings Europeans to no more than 14 percent of the global population–just at a time when we hear of “Africa Rising.”
This term has been used to describe economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, but applies even more to Africa’s burgeoning population, especially its child population. By 2100, the African population could be increasing by 300 million–the equivalent of the current population of the United States–every 2 years! By that time, blacks would outnumber whites four to one, and even more if we count blacks who have already left Africa.
What these projections do not show are the disparities in age profile by continent. Africa is by far the youngest continent while Europe, together with Japan, is the oldest. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that, even in the USA, the population is aging so rapidly that sales of incontinence pads for the elderly rose by 20 percent from 2009-2013, while those of baby diapers declined by 8 percent, forcing manufacturers to “reposition themselves”.
The European Union regularly publishes an Ageing Report on the dismal fertility rates of Europeans. The 2015 report finds that median European fertility dropped from 2.67 in 1960 to 1.56 in 2012, which is well below the replacement rate of 2.1.
In 2000, the following countries had total fertility rates of less than 1.4: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Slovakia. Most European population projections assume net migration from the Third World, without which populations would be declining, since deaths exceed births. The Japanese, who accept essentially no immigrants, saw their population drop by 268,000 in 2014.
It is in order to avoid outright decline that Chancellor Angela Merkel recently declared that Germany had become “a country of immigration . . . . There is something enriching if someone wants to come to us.” In 2014, Germany received 200,000 applications for asylum, and took in a total of 800,000 immigrants.
In a few decades, the European old-age dependency ratio–the number of people age 65 and over to those of productive age between 15 and 64, will rise above 50 percent. A report from the Eurostat statistical agency states that:
Europe is currently the oldest continent with the highest old-age dependency ratio, and will remain so in 2060. Other parts of the world are, however, also experiencing a dramatic ageing of their populations, with old-age dependency ratios climbing to levels clearly above the ones in Europe now on all continents except Africa.
The old-age dependency ratio in Europe, which includes Russia and other non-EU countries, could reach 50 percent in 2040 and stay there. China, which also has rapidly aging population, could reach 50 percent by 2060.
In Africa, by contrast, the average age is only 18; 40 percent of Africans are 14 years old or younger. By 2040, when most of Europe will be a vast old-age home, with only two workers to support each person over 65, Africa’s old-age dependency ratio will be only 7.8 percent.
Swarming into the cities
As Africa’s population rises, it faces a separate crisis: A mass influx into the cities. Many people believed that economic growth and better communications–until the arrival of cell phones almost no one in sub-Saharan Africa had a telephone–would lead to a more dispersed population growth.
In South Africa before black rule, whites had a plan, sometimes known as grand apartheid, whereby blacks would be given local autonomy in homelands. White leaders believed that if they sent aid to black homelands and created jobs there, rural blacks would stop migrating to the then majority-white cities. As anyone visiting Johannesburg or Pretoria today can see, that plan failed. Most Africans would rather live in a shanty on the outskirts of a Western city than farm or create jobs in their own areas.
One of South Africa’s right-wing politicians, Dr. Albert Hertzog, long shunned by the establishment for his blunt views, famously opposed granting more land to blacks, saying:
The black man is no agriculturalist. He settles in the white cities, attracted by the great numbers of people there, by the sense of togetherness; so it is claimed. Does he therefore need more land? Does he not just need more cities, like those of the whites? Then he would not need more land, of course. (Oproep tot die stryd, p. 141)
By Hertzog’s logic, the vast continent of Africa was of little value to Africans, other than as a store of resources to sell the world. In the meantime Africa is urbanising very rapidly, just as he predicted. According to the African Development Bank:
More than 90 percent of future population growth [over the next 35 years] will be accounted for by the large cities in the developing countries. In the developing world, Africa has experienced the highest urban growth . . . . Rural-urban migration and natural population growth rates in cities are the major causes of the increasing rate of urban growth and slum proliferation in Africa. . . . As a consequence, many African cities have to deal not only with slum proliferation but also with increasing insecurity and crime.
The South African experience, whereby Africans abandoned their rural, ancestral lands to flock to the cities, is not just a national but a global phenomenon. Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that economic growth and better communications stimulate emigration to Europe:
Senegal is a stable West African democracy, and Kothiary (a village in Senegal) has profited from the currents of globalization transforming rural Africa’s more prosperous areas. Flat screen TVs and, increasingly, cars–mostly purchased with money wired home by villagers working in Europe–have reshaped what was once a settlement of mud huts. The wealth has plugged this isolated landscape of peanut farms and baobab trees into the global economy and won respect for the men who sent it.
But it has also put European living standards on real-time display, and handed young farm hands the cash to buy a ticket out . . . West Africa houses several of the world’s faster-growing economies but is also sending some of the most migrants out.
In other words, Africans now look to Europe as their El Dorado, just as Latin American peasants have long looked to the United States.
Now that Mrs. Merkel has discovered “diversity,” and with so many Africans eager to diversify an aging Germany, it is not impossible that Europe’s largest economy could become increasingly African, a little like the old Western-style, white-run South Africa of two decades ago.
Germany dominates Europe because of its phenomenal gains in productivity. But as Germans fail to reproduce themselves, could Germany–and the rest of Europe–be dominated by the Africans who are already streaming across the Mediterranean? In democracies, numbers are everything. In South Africa, blacks relentlessly apply their demographic advantage at all levels: politics, the economy, sport and culture.
In 1973, French author Jean Raspail depicted the non-violent conquest of Europe in his dystopian novel The Camp of the Saints. But Mr. Raspail’s literary fantasy offers only one scenario, a kind of “Death of the West,” in which the poor from the Third World invade France and then other Western countries.
Reality could be less straightforward. Africa’s phenomenal growth since 1950 could lead to at least three scenarios. I call them “planets” because Planet Earth will be radically changed by Africa’s population explosion.
Imagine this possible future: The average European will look out of his window and no longer see white people but Africans, the women wearing wigs, carrying children on their backs, and the men ambling along with shaven heads. When the European switches on the TV, all the faces of the news readers and politicians will be African. After the news, there will be a soap opera about an African chief who rules in a benevolent way over his subjects, solving their business disputes and love quarrels. There are scenes in which people succumb to supernatural influences and witchdoctors’ spells.
If this sounds outlandish, I have just described contemporary South Africa. Whites are 9.1 percent of the population and still pay at least half of all taxes, but they have no government representation–not even at the local level. Major global corporations advertise their products in the slots between episodes of Muvhango, a black soap opera broadcast in several African languages, and where the influence of dead ancestors is discussed in business meetings as naturally as getting the next government contract. This could be the “brave new world” at the end of this century if Africa’s young, mobile population settles the globe, displacing elderly Europeans.
Planet 1: A South-Africanized Europe
June 7 through 15, 2015, was a glimpse of one possible future in which Europe, if not the rest of the world, is ruled by Africans. This was the summit meeting of the states of the African Union, held in Johannesburg’s business district, known as Sandton. In flew dozens of African presidents and dictators, including the newly elected president of the Africa Union, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
They and their entourages stayed in five-star hotels, ate South Africa’s finest cuisine, and picked up luxury brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana, and Burberry at the Sandton City complex. According to a local newspaper, Prada has built its largest store right here in Sandton, a first-world island where Citibank, Deutsche Bank, and Merrill Lynch trade derivatives on a continent where hundreds of millions survive on one dollar a day.
The African Union (AU) conference was only slightly tarnished by an attempt to have Omar al-Bashir, dictator of the Sudan, arrested and prohibited from leaving the country. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for committing genocide in Darfur, so a white judge of the High Court in Pretoria issued an injunction that he be detained. The African heads of state stood together in denouncing Western “interference in the continent’s affairs,” and at the end of the summit Mr. al-Bashir got on his private jet and flew back to Sudan.
Only one high-profile white face was to be seen amidst all the pomp and splendor at Sandton: that of Angelina Jolie, who had come as the UN’s Special Envoy for Refugee Issues. There were no other prominent whites at the conference, making it a perfect reflection of African demography. But what about the 5,000,000 whites in South Africa and Namibia, who still man the technical positions and, together with corporations, pay for the glitter of an AU summit?
Africans would reply that they are too few and too old to be represented. However, it was announced during the summit that South Africa, which already pays more AU dues than Nigeria–despite having only one third its population–would increase its contribution to the AU budget by another $60 million. Whites are a useful source of revenue. Western countries, too, contribute generously to the AU, which is nothing more than a talk shop, where the speeches consist of calls for pan-Africanism and whose president, Robert Mugabe, is the global spokesman for expelling all whites from Africa. On a previous visit to South Africa, he objected to the presence of a white reporter in the media contingent following him around, stating, “I don’t want to see white faces.”
If Africans begin to dominate Europe they will increasingly control international institutions such as the UN, and perhaps even the IMF and the World Bank. They will spend everyone else’s money just as they spend white South African taxpayers’ money. As in South Africa, there will be vast transfers of wealth from Europe and North America.
Perhaps there would be a few attempts to halt this process, even in Africa itself. In her recent book, Dead Aid, Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo argues that Africans have not benefited from the $1 trillion in aid that rich countries have given the continent over the last 40 years or so.
Miss Moyo is rare among Africans, in opposing straight transfers of wealth. She offers a free-market solution to Africa’s problems by suggesting the continent should develop its trade with China, which could potentially rise to $500 billion per year. She also says Africans should take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), passed by the US Congress in 2000, which offers favorable treatment for exports to America. South Africa benefits from AGOA by assembling German and Japanese-branded cars and exporting them to the USA. Software billionaire Bill Gates called Miss Moyo’s book “evil,” insisting that “millions of African children are being saved by aid.”
Miss Moyo writes nothing about the continent’s galloping demography, but she does note that:
The UN estimates that there are around 33 million Africans living outside their country of origin. Nigerians and Ghanaians principally move to the United States, Malians and Senegalese settle in France, and the majority of Congolese make their home in the Netherlands. Some 30 percent of Mali’s population lives elsewhere. In total, emigrants represent almost 5 percent of Africa’s total population, and they are yet another source of money to help fuel Africa’s development.
As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, however, remittances stimulate emigration rather than development. Many outsiders believed, optimistically, that with all its land, water, minerals, and other resources, Africa would create its own Western-style wealth so that Africans could stay home. These people would do well to watch a popular weekly TV series called Voetspore (literally “Foot tracks”), broadcast in Afrikaans in South Africa.
Voetspore is a low-budget program in which a few Boer 4 x 4 enthusiasts in two pick-up trucks explore every country on the continent. It shows the real Africa, far from the rhetoric of official reports and the media. There is an undercurrent of irony in the commentary, usually expressed by describing varying levels of chaos and catastrophe in over-polite terms.
The first thing viewers realize is that the frail infrastructure on the continent cannot even sustain the current population, let alone the extra three billion who are on the way. Even the toughest vehicles break down on African roads that are mostly dirt tracks through the bush. It can take the Voetspore drivers weeks to get through a country, as they bog down in mud, get sick and have to be flown back to South Africa, wait for corrupt bureaucrats to stamp their passports, etc.
A tourist trip in two super-equipped, rugged vehicles requires supplies, resources, military-style planning, and precautions against disaster. How on earth are four billion people going to survive without infrastructure, intensive farming, and good government?
The sad truth is that Africa’s “economic miracle” will never happen. As the population grows, survival will mean only one thing: emigration. The bright lights of Europe and North America–and of South Africa for those who cannot manage to leave the continent–will exert a hypnotic attraction. Many Africans will buy plane tickets financed by their relatives already overseas, or by Western aid money, and those who cannot afford to fly will pile into rickety ships to cross the Mediterranean. The African avalanche is inevitable.
The rush to Europe will be so massive and relentless that it will not be possible to stop it without direct military force. That would require a fundamental ideological change, and without such a change, at some point in the 21st century, Europe will accept African domination. This is not as preposterous as it sounds; most Europeans will be as resigned to black rule as white South Africans are today. Liberal Europeans will probably fight as hard as Africans to implement the current South African system of race preferences, quotas and forced integration.
Africans are not good at engineering, science, management, maintenance of complex systems, and a host of other things, but they excel at politics. In fact, the entire African elite, as well as the Afro-American elite in the United States, is engaged in a form politics. Business, sport, culture, religion, education–in fact, all fields of human endeavor–become extensions of a racial politics designed to push forward the interests of one group at the expense of others.
Given the West’s simplistic notion of “democracy” as counting votes, it is hard to see what will stop the Africans. Every African born on the continent is a potential voter, and as South Africans say: “Vote for a living, don’t work for a living!” There will be four billion voters in Africa, and their voting power will spill far beyond the continent and overwhelm the paltry, aging populations of Europe.
America already has an African president and the UN used to have one in the person of Kofi Annan. No doubt they will have successors. Already, Africans are clamoring for UN Security Council reform that will give them a bigger say in world affairs. Sustained by the most prolific population the world has ever seen, Africans will rule in parliaments, corporate boardrooms, and universities.
In South Africa, blacks assert their rights as the original, “indigenous” owners of the land. In Europe and elsewhere, they will assert their rights–perhaps even more ruthlessly–as conquerors. As in South Africa, they may change the names of cities. Pretoria was renamed after an unknown black chief named “Tshwane.” Andries Pretorius of the Great Trek was no longer worthy of having a city named after him.
In time, everything will belong to Africans. Not so long ago, a black man lodged an official claim to the entire city of Pretoria, complete with its $50 billion economy, saying that the land had belonged to an ancestor. It only sounds absurd. Once legislation gives them the force of law, nothing will stop claims of reparations for slavery, colonialism, racism, and sundry historical slights. Spain was once ruled by Moors from Africa. Once it is dominated by Africans, nothing will prevent a “land claim” for the entire Iberian Peninsula. The rest of Europe would follow.
Like many places in the United States, Johannesburg quickly went from white to black. Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, and Berlin could do the same. The world has already accepted the notion that Africa is “the cradle of mankind” and that “everyone is African.” A new mythology could arise through which Africans claim all of Eurasia.
The remaining Europeans of working age will work very hard for their African masters. After the South African model is implemented, in order to register a business, a white will need a black partner who owns 51 percent of the equity. While the European serves customers and balances the books, the African partner goes shopping. He may attend a few meetings, for which he will habitually arrive late. In South Africa, we have grown accustomed to “African time,” a casual attitude toward deadlines and appointments.
Taxes will be spent on feasting in luxury hotels. There will be glittering conferences about “challenges” and “issues” that accomplish nothing. As South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma managed to do recently, black leaders will charter four airplanes to make one overseas trip. Their status, comfort, and prestige will be paramount.
There might be moments of resistance to the Africanization of Europe and even North America, but barring any major change or catastrophe of global proportions, it will be Africa Rising all the way, with the Dark Continent taking its place in the sun. Heaven knows what would succeed such a system.
Such is my first scenario or “planet,” but I can imagine two others. Planet Two would be Malthusian collapse as hunger and disease strike the continent. Hundreds of millions of people could die, despite the international community’s best efforts to save them.
Planet Three would be midway between One and Two. The West would eventually muster half-hearted resistance to the African invasion, but only after Europe’s identity and economy were battered by millions of newcomers. The result could be a nightmare of racial and ethnic conflict, made even more complex and brutal by a wave of Muslims from the East. This scenario is perhaps the most likely, but at the same time the most difficult to envisage. Race, demography, religion, technology, and ideology would combine to produce a powerful cocktail that could result in nothing short of devastation.
Planets Two and Three will be discussed in Part II of this article.