In the global context, it is interesting to note that the total world population is anticipated to grow to approximately 11.2 billion people by the end of the century. Over a billion of those people will inhabit the Middle Eastern and North African region. Currently, about 23 percent of the world’s population follow the religion of Islam. As the majority of Muslims dwell in the Middle East and North African region, this share will increase drastically by 2100.
An important feature of todays demographics in the Middle East and North Africa are a fairly young population with a high fertility rate. The average fertility rate of countries in this region was around 3.9 while the global fertility rate is currently at 2.44. The median age for MENA countries was at 27.25 years, compared to 29.6 years globally for the same time period. Notably, the average age of young people in the lower income and less developed Middle Eastern countries is higher than those in the higher income countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
One major trait of the Middle East and North African demographic is the economic gender disparity. Closing the gender gap in the region could potentially add 47 percent to the GDP growth for those countries by 2025.
An important starting point of this would be to improve accessibility and quality of education in the periphery countries of the Middle East and North Africa.