P&D Network Special Report: Are Africa and Latin America ready for an aging revolution?

21-Jun-2011    Aging is a global problem – but it especially affects emerging economies. Two recently published reports on ageing in Africa and Latin America show that rapid population aging is no longer a rich country phenomenon.

This demographic development will proceed much more rapidly in emerging economies than it previously did in rich countries. The rapid population aging in Africa and Latin America shows that both African and Latin American countries should seriously start planning for its elderly population.

The reports, published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the WorldBank, warn that governments and communities in the African and Latin American region cannot afford to be complacent about a ‘greying revolution’, given that the next 50 years will be very different from its past half century. Economic growth will be more challenging in countries with large numbers of elderly people, and meeting health care, pension and other needs will be especially difficult for low- and middle income countries.

It is therefore strongly recommend that emerging economies develop programmes that cater to the consequences of population aging and contribute to older people’s need for income, housing, health care, and security. Without advanced planning and the necessary money to cope with the social and economic challenges of population aging, emerging economies face a daunting outlook of persistent old-age poverty.

Developing and implementing micro pension provisions offers a simple and affordable solution to the consequences of by population aging. Micro pensions are intended to collect savings at an early age; by investing the micro pension savings the accumulated capital can serve as a regular income around old-age or throughout the life after retirement. Micro pensions can help older people become independent from their children and alleviate old-age poverty that is linked with population aging.


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