By 2020, African Countries to See Workforces Shrink by Up to 35%, Study Predicts
The size of the labor force in some African countries could decrease by up to 35% by 2020 due to losses from AIDS, a study by the International Labor Organization released this month reports. The report, HIV/AIDS in Africa: The Impact on the World of Work, was based on an analysis of United Nations population data in 29 African countries, where the study projected the workforce would decline by between 5% and 35% in the next two decades. The study projected Namibia would see the worst losses, with its workforce shrinking by 35.1%, followed by Botswana with a 30.8% shrinkage and Zimbabwe with 29.4%. "The concern is not only with the size of the labor force, but also its quality," the report stated. "Many of those infected with HIV are experienced and skilled workers in both blue-collar and white-collar jobs." The report continued, "The loss of these workers, together with the entry into the labor market of orphaned children who have to support themselves, is likely to lower both the average age of many workforces and their average level of skills and experience." Miners, transport workers, security workers, teachers, health workers and seasonal or migrant workers are most at risk (Harare Financial Gazette, 12/14).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.