Ageing in West Africa

  • Isabella Aboderin
Part of the International Handbooks of Population book series (IHOP, volume 1)

West Africa is one of the four sub-regions of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It comprises 15 major countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The dynamics and implications of population ageing in these nations are best examined in the context of a debate on ageing in SSA as a whole. The first part of this chapter, therefore, charts the origins of this debate and critically examines its scope and the key concerns and perspectives at its heart. In light of this, the second part critically reviews what we presently know about the demography of population ageing and the demographics of the older population in West Africa and what key knowledge gaps remain. The review draws mainly on existing literature from the Anglophone countries of West Africa. Given language limitations, it is unable to capture the body of publications from the region’s francophone and lusophone nations. Indeed, it is important to note the significant impediment that language barriers pose to the flourishing of scientific discourse on ageing in Africa as a whole. A second note of caution due at the outset concerns the importance of recognizing the diversity that exists in the cultural, social and environmental contexts in which the ageing of populations and individuals unfolds in West Africa. Nigeria alone, for instance, comprises over 350 ethnolinguistic groups, spread over geographically disparate areas (Nugent 2004; DFID 2004). Sub-regional overviews, as offered in this chapter, are thus inevitably general, able to capture only broad, cross-cutting themes. An in-depth understanding requires country specific research and analyses.


Family Support United Nations United Nations Development Programme Filial Obligation Global Ageing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabella Aboderin
    • 1
  1. 1.Oxford Institute of AgeingUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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