Changing population dynamics make Africa the next labour reserve for capital – Musumali

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Tunis – THE second annual conference on Pan-Africanism Today held in the Tunisian capital, Tunis in early July heard that projections indicate Africa will by the year 2130 surpass Asia in contributing to the world population estimated to be around 9.8 billion then.

Presenting a topic entitled, The changing demographic patterns: the socialist dividends of a young population, Dr Cosmas Musumali from the Pan-Africanism Today secretariat, said the demographic changes in the world had seen the global population currently at around 7.2 billion grow exponentially.

“The world shall never be the same again as something is happening that is changing the demographic pattern. This planet Earth is over four billion years old and what is happening now and what would happen over the next 300 years is qualitatively new,” he said. “Life expectancy over the past 100 years has been going up and technological changes, especially the medical ones, are facilitating that change. The current population of the world stands at 7.2 billion but by 2100 the world population is going to be around 11 billion.”

Dr Musumali said there was need to understand where that change was coming from, its drivers, which continent and the factors behind it. 

“According to 2017 projections the world population is at 7.6 billion and out of that Africa is contributing 1.3 billion while Asia is contributing three times more at 4.5 billion. The percentage contribution for Africa to the world population is 17 per cent. By 2050, the world population is going to be 9.8 billion and Africa is going to contribute 2.5 billion,” he said. “By 2050, Africa’s percentage contribution to the world population will be 25.5 per cent. By 2100 as the world population continue growing, Africa’s percentage contribution to this will be 40.9 per cent. What this means is that Africa will increasingly contribute more and more to the world population. By 2130 Africa will be contributing about 60 per cent to the world population.”

On the medium variant projection, Dr Musumali said demographics were based on probability and that the medium variant is the average between the highest and the lowest, and that the chances of the medium variant occurring were far much higher. 

“The projection that the world population will grow by 2100 is more likely. Africa is the culprit and one of the drivers in all this. Asia contributes 4.5 billion to the 7.6 billion and in this case, Asia is ahead. However, Africa has been strongly rising, beginning from the 1990s,” Dr Musumali said. “By 2130, Africa is going to overtake Asia in terms of population growth and size. Population growth is not driven by population growth rate alone. The population growth for Africa has been falling for some few years now. The fertility rate for Africa is going down despite starting high.”

 But he said on a number of continents, the population growth rate was so slow and declining to below replenishing levels. 

“Replenishing levels is going down to below zero. This means the people dying are not being replenished at a fast rate. Asia is about to reach that stage and Europe has already reached it,” Dr Musumali pointed out further. “Life expectancy is growing everywhere as people are now living longer lives, even on the African continent, which recorded a small dip owing to the HIV/AIDS situation, which has however been reversed by access to drugs. Africa is going to have a much younger population while the other continents will have a much older population.”

He said when talking about Africa having a younger population, the issue of concern would be about the working population.

On the working age population, he said the working age population on other continents was not growing. 

“But it will grow up to the year 2020/30 and start declining as the population growth reaches declining levels. These trends inform the capitalist about where the future labour will come from; where the exploited masses working for Uber, for instance, are going to come from,” Dr Musumali said. “Human labour is still needed because robotics cannot do certain things. The issue is that Africa will have a relatively larger population of working age for a long time.” 

On the capitalist demographic dividend, he said what that meant was that these were variations in terms of what the dividends are going to be as a result of changes in population figures. 

“As the population grows, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is more or less behaving the same and it improves. But if one is in a capitalist country, it is not per se that every human being is going to participate in that dividend because that dividend accrues to the capitalist and not the workers,” Dr Musumali said. “Therefore, there will be a huge population but most of them would be unemployed reflecting the social tension- prone or time-bomb reality of having a lot of young people and a fast-growing population.” 

Even though, he said, this would not happen automatically, the capitalists knew they had to work for that dividend. 

“This they are doing by forcibly nurturing the capitalist values in the younger population of Africa. The issue of greed regardless how it is packaged is still being celebrated. The young people of Africa are being indoctrinated with individualism in the pursuit of this capitalist dividend,” Dr Musumali noted further. “Then there is the issue of competition, consumerism and how a lot of young people are deceived into believing that they can be millionaires if they just did certain things right when in actual fact, the number of billionaires is reducing as highlighted in Comrade Marco’s presentation.” 

Dr Musumali said there was also another issue of violence where capitalism uses force to crash any perceived enemy. 

“One just has to watch Hollywood movies, listen to music and watch politicians speak to understand this. The capitalists, in the case of Africa, are mapping out the areas of geo-political importance,” he said. 

He cited Egypt in North Africa, Senegal and Ivory Coast in West Africa, even South Africa in southern Africa, as well the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as such countries being mapped out as areas of geo-political importance by the capitalists. 

“For the DRC, it is a free-for-all affair and the capitalist forces are fighting for it with the Chinese,” Dr Musumali continued. 

He also said the other element in this capitalist dividend was the capturing of the youth leadership where millions of United States dollars were being spent through foundations such as the Gates Foundations and the Soros Foundation to capture the future leadership of Africa. 

He said young entrepreneurs were in this regard being sought and given certain privileges to a point that this group of young Africans frequent the American embassies because they wanted to obtain visas. 

“Another issue in this capitalist dividend is that of cultural hegemony. Listening to a young person from a country like Senegal, for instance, even if they claimed to be Africans, the way they think does not represent anything African. Going to South Africa today, the youths in that country know more about Hollywood than their rural villages and what this shows is that Africans copy almost everything,” Dr Musumali said. “In that way they have been captured, in the process losing their identity to levels tantamount to slavery. The capitalist ideology has destroyed Africans and they feel closer to that imperialist culture than to the suffering masses of the continent.”

Dr Musumali said in as much as capitalists were working hard, socialists should look for answers to their predicament and find where they can draw inspiration from.

 “You can’t carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness,” he said. “In this case, this comes out from non-conformity and turning on the old formulas. Since 2008, for example, the sales of Das Capital, the Communist Manifesto and the Grundrisse have gone up.”

He explained that clearly shows that young people were exhausted with what was obtaining in the world today. 

“They are fed up. Young people are realising that this is not working as the bourgeoisie philosophy does not provide answers. Welcome Marxism! They are looking for answers in socialism.  Younger people are reviving their interest in Marxism. The young people are using Marxism to understand the cracks within capitalism,” Dr Musumali said. “To understand the socialist dividends, it is necessary to understand what these dividends are by creating a conscious working class and in the process enhancing the socialist capacity to organise. We must inter-face into the anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist global actions and ultimately a socialist transformation of the continent.”

He said therefore this collective madness should be about building Marxism for the entire young generation of Africa; strive for the hegemony of socialist values of equity, honesty, humility and solidarity. 

He said if any Marxist thought they could outdo the capitalist system without these organising skills, they would never attain their objective. 

“We have to find creative ways of ensuring that every young person is exposed to Marxism. Nothing stops us from having a Communist Manifesto for kids,” said Dr Musumali. “Any revolution is about change and fundamental change for that matter. As such young people become critical because the imperative change in any revolution comes from the younger people. Young people should place themselves in a position where they become a driving force of the socialist revolution and Africa with its growing population has better potential. Our task, he said, is to enhance that collective madness. The youths of Africa have nothing to lose except the 500-old capitalist chains of slavery.”

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