World population has multiplied exponentially in the last century. Future projections estimate a global population of 9 billion by 2050 (up from 7.4 billion currently). This growth in population can be attributed to the great advancements in science and technology, which have increased food production and distribution, improved sanitation and public health, medical services and technology as well as standards of living globally.
The majority of population growth is found in the world’s poorest and least developed countries. Population growth rates these countries are approximately 3.5 times higher than those of developed countries. Roughly 12% of the world’s population resides in the 48 least developed countries that account for less than 2% of the global GDP. These countries are typically characterized by high fertility, infant mortality and poverty rates. The rapid population growth limits advances in quality of life and well-being, placing increasing pressure on human necessities while lacking the capital and resources to support them.
Globalization, vulnerabilities and increasing inequalities
Globalization and financial market liberalization, alongside growing urbanization, have provided opportunities for emerging economies through increased access to global markets, technology, and knowledge.
However, tighter trade, investment and financial links have led to increased interdependence between developed and developing regions; subjecting the least developed countries to greater risk and vulnerability during periods of crisis. Increasing competition and demand for energy as well as resources presents yet another challenge that leads to accelerated environmental degradation which in-turn increases social costs to populations already deeply seated in poverty.