Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) population is aging. While most of the region is still in earlier stages of the demographic transition and will remain younger than other parts of the globe, the population share of older people (aged 60 years and over) is projected to quadruple from 5% today to 19% by the end of the century In the same time span, the absolute size of the older population will grow a massive 15- fold from 43 million to 644 million. This is a sharper increase than for any other world region or age group.
Thus far, however, this aspect of SSA’s demography receives little attention in mainstream debates on health, population and development, which typically remain focused on children, youth and ‘prime’ age adults. As a result, few comprehensive responses on the older population have been pursued in SSA. Yet, issues of aging are directly relevant to, and need to be harnessed for, the achievement of social and economic development in the region.