By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, August 27, 2012
One Quarter of the Moroccan population will be aged above 60 by 2050 despite the fact that its population has been a young and fertile workforce for decades. The median age in the African continent will be increasing considerably by 2050. These findings were published by the French National Institute for Demographic Studies (NIDS).
According to the NIDS report, the figures submitted by the United Nations in 2010 are incrementally changing. Africa had only 5, 5% of people aged above 60 years in 2010. A low rate compared to Asia that had 9, 9% and Europe with 21, 7% of ageing population.
Yet, the study at hand predicts a gradual change in the demographics of the African continent. Seemingly, the proportion of inhabitants aged above 60 years will double for many African countries in the forthcoming 40 years.
In Morocco, the rate of aged population will shift from 5% in 2010 to more than 20% by 2050. Egypt will see its senile population jump from 8% to more than 20%. The figures reveal that the Maghreb countries are the fastest aging countries in Africa.
The median age for the African population is expected to rise mainly due to rising life expectancy and declining fertility. Life expectancy represents the life span of a new born. It can decrease sharply due to war and diseases. Improvement in the health system and welfare is liable to increase life expectancy.
On the other hand, low fertility rates are ascribed to the free access to contraception, late marriage and new division of labor among genders. In his study about low fertility, Peter McDonald attributes this demographic change to social liberalism. According to him, individuals have developed new aspirations in relation to the quality of their personal and economic lives, which has affected the capacity to form and maintain families.
Mac Donald highlights the role of gender equity in decreasing the fertility rate in many countries. He argues that family formation involves more risks for women than men. Women know that they have to compromise with their professional careers once they have a baby. The absence of facilitating provisions for women to combine work and family makes it harder for them to think about having many children.
The ageing of Moroccan population is raising concerns about the efficiency of public pensions system and healthcare for retired people. Only 13% of aged Moroccans receive a retirement pension. The rate of aged women receiving a public pension does not exceed 8% ,while men represent 18%.
The ability and alacrity of the extended families to cater for the needs of aged parents is slimming due to the change in the nuclear family, living costs and new labor division among genders. In many urban hubs across the African continent, the tendency is the same. The inflation has a direct impact on the quality of life.
While the current government is still striving to provide job opportunities to a large population of young Moroccans, the ageing of the Moroccan population remains a new challenge that should be addressed seriously. A real reform of the retirement pensions is highly needed to ensure that our elderly can have a decent retirement.
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