Jul 21, 2018

The dangers of Nigeria's population explosion

In a Lagos market. Photo: Stefan Heunis/AFP via Getty Images

Nigeria is on track to have the third-highest population in the world, behind only India and China, according to the UN, a change that could reverberate globally since it's also likely to remain poor.

Why it matters: With more people will come more health risks, a need for more food from already-stressed agricultural land — and the potential for regional and global instability as poor Nigerians along with other Africans seek to migrate for a better life.

By the numbers: Nigeria is expected to surpass the U.S. population by 2050 and Africa is expected to make up 39% of the global population by 2100.

  • Already, Nigeria has the second-highest number of people living with HIV and, when combined with the Democratic Republic of Congo, accounts for more than 35% of the world’s malaria deaths, according to USAID.
  • This year there has been a record-breaking outbreak of Lassa Fever, the Atlantic reports.
  • The need to grow more food to feed Nigeria's growing population will cause humanitarian and environmental havoc, including increased greenhouse gas emissions from producing food.
"This projected increase in population poses a food security challenge for the people of Sub-Saharan Africa. The region is already the world’s hungriest."
World Resources Institute
  • If fertility rates could be reduced, it could help boost Africa's economy, as there would be fewer children to care for. Such a "demographic dividend" helped fuel the economic expansion of the East Asian "Tigers" between 1965 and 1990.

One solution: Empowering women. "We know when girls are educated and have access to family planning, and you have a decline in mortality rates among infants, every society that has seen that happen has reduced fertility rates dramatically and rapidly," said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton.

Go deeper

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.