Tsitsi Masiyiwa from Zimbabwe and Kennedy Odede from Kenya took part in a plenary session at the Global Philanthropy Forum, 2014 Conference. The goal of this plenary session was Conferring Dignity while Leveraging Demographic Change. The session was very insightful with the panellists sharing their personal experiences about their background and the work they were involved in on the continent which was making a huge difference for many people.
The moderator for the session was David Bloom who is the Clarence James Gamble Professor of Economics and Demography, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health.
Kennedy Odede is the Founder and the CEO of Shining Hope for Communities. Shining Hope currently serves over 50,000 people living in the Kibera slum of Nairobi which is where Kennedy grew up. Shining Hope deliver services and life guidance to these people looking and is notably driven by their, that is the slum dwellers’ innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.
Tsitsi Masiyiwa is the Executive Chairperson of the Higher Life Foundation. The Higher Life Foundation champions the delivery of a holistic approach to the growth and development of orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa, children who the foundation refers to as history makers.
Toby Porter is the CEO of HelpAge International. HelpAge is a global network of organizations working to help older men and women claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty and insecurity.
Below the Facts (verbatim) as presented before the plenary session:
Fact 1 – World population now stands at 7.2 billion people and it’s projected to surpass 9 billion by the year 2050. 9 billion represents 3 times the 3-billion figure that the world reached in 1960. So, that’s a 6 billion increase from 3 to 9 in less than a century. That would be the equivalent – just to jar your imagines a bit – the equivalent of adding three populations the combined size of China and India, the world’s two population superpowers. I also would note here that the increase is not a uniformly global phenomenon. It has been and it will continue to be heavily disproportionately concentrated in the socially, the politically, the economically and the ecologically most fragile countries and regions of the world.
Fact 2 – In 1950 the average woman in the world had 5 children over the course of her childbearing years. Today that figure is sharply lower. It now stands at 2.5 children are per woman and please keep in mind also that there is a great deal of heterogeneity out there, there is still some populations in which women are having upwards of 6 and 7 children over the course of their childbearing years and those are offset by the countries in which fertility has dropped as low as 1 child per woman which is well under the long-run replacement rate of 2.1.
Fact 3 – Since 1950, global life expectancy increased by two decades and it’s expected to rise perhaps another decade by the time we get to 2050. To put that in context, please consider that through most human history, people lived to somewhere between 25 and 30 years on average and now in the last six decades alone we have added 20 years to life expectancy. That’s basically that life expectancy has increased 8 hours per day for the last 60 years on average. That’s what I would call ‘Longevity Revolution’ and I would say that it ranks among the most remarkable achievements in human history.
Fact 4 – Fact 4 has to do with population ageing. Today, there are on the order of 800 million old people in the world where old is defined – and I say this with apologies – it’s defined as age 60 and over. That represents about 11% of global population. That figure, that 11% figure has been relatively stable in the past few decades but it’s about to increase very sharply. So, between now and the year 2050, that 11% is going to turn into 22% and the 800 million I just mentioned is to become 2 billion people aged 60 over and I can tell you also that every single country in the world will be a participant in the process and we are talking here, when we talk about population ageing, we are talking about an unprecedented change for the world. There are not examples or prior stages of history to which we can look for guidance on the challenges that population ageing will pose.
Fact 5 – Finally, I have Fact 5 for you. Fact 5 has to do with urbanization. So, as of 2008, just a few years ago, for the first time in history more people were living in urban areas than rural areas in the world and that growth of urban areas basically involves the growth of cities, of megacities, of hypercities, of slums, the issues that it raises that have to do with anonymity, congestion, loneliness, communicable disease, pollution, crime, infrastructure, social services. These all come to mind as related challenges and especially notable here is that of the roughly 3.5 billion people that live in urban areas in the world, over 1 billion are living under extremely squalid conditions that we call slums.
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