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Africa is on the verge of a demographic explosion. While populations in Europe and the Americas have stopped growing — and the number of people in Asia is expected to peak at around 5bn by 2050 — there is no sign of a similar slowdown in Africa. In fact, the UN predicts the number of people on the continent will double in 30 years to 2bn and again, to 4bn, by the end of the century.

This growth could be either a boon or a burden, writes David Pilling in his column. If all these new people can find education, jobs and opportunity, then global growth will gradually shift to African countries. But if they cannot, the same countries could be faced with food shortages, communal violence and increased rates of emigration. African leaders should not fall into the trap of blithely anticipating the former, argues David. Instead they should focus on making sure jobs are available to the young and on educating women, so they can make informed choices about contraception.

Katie Martin observes that Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan are perfectly matched opponents in a blame game. Thanks to US sanctions rattling the lira, Mr Erdogan’s claims of economic warfare against the lira sound more plausible.

Linda Yueh explains the benefits and dangers of the fast developing technology behind 3D printing. Printable guns, food and organs may well revolutionise our lives, but the scope for abuse is huge.

Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner, calls on the government to impose a code of practice on political parties to prevent them abusing personal data in forthcoming electoral campaigns.

Edward Luce argues that Mr Trump is adopting a “scorched earth” policy ahead of the midterm elections in November, and that a Democrat-controlled Congress might actually suit the president.

What you’ve been saying

Creating an audience where the sports fans are: letter from Fabio Gallo, London, UK

Facebook’s rights deal with Spain’s top football division is a smart move ( “Facebook scores rights to broadcast La Liga football to south Asian users”). Sport leagues are clearly not happy with some broadcaster deals, especially in key territories where they see a growth path in the upcoming years. Because of this, they are pursuing different strategies to reach out to their fan base and give bigger exposure to their brands. It’s a clear long-term strategy.

In response to “Brexit is a public health hazard in Europe and the UK”, Sit Bo Lei says: 

Should not the UK take over the operations and staff of the EMA [European Medicines Agency] in the UK? An organisation fulfilling its functions will be required by the UK after it leaves the EU. On the assumption that most of the employees are British based it should be easy enough to encourage them to stay in UK. 

Few voices in Mexico still oppose Nafta: letter from Angel Sarmiento, Mexico City, Mexico

I read with interest “Why Nafta’s losers will always drown out the winners”, but cannot agree with his argument that the Mexican people feel like we lost out with the agreement. As it was negotiated and immediately after it was signed, Nafta indeed polarised society, pitting proponents of trade against those who argued it would hurt Mexico’s rural societies. However, more than 20 years later, only a few voices on the far-left continue to oppose it. Mexicans are now more likely to blame domestic concerns for the nation’s ills.

Today’s opinion

Rules are required to stop political campaigns abusing personal data
The way parties communicate will vary, but they should all work under the same code

New Zealand slams the door on Silicon Valley
Tech gurus may have to rethink their apocalypse insurance

Global Insight: Donald Trump’s scorched earth tactics break with midterm script
US president’s isolation would play to his strength: to campaign rather than to lead

The good, the bad and the ugly of 3D printing technology
Printable guns, food and organs will revolutionise our lives but scope for abuse is huge

Africa cannot count on a demographic dividend
Population growth will not necessarily translate into rising living standards

FT Alphaville: Erdogan can’t sidestep the IMF for long

Erdogan and Trump battle it out in the lira blame game
Thanks to US sanctions, the Turkish leader can claim there is an effort to sabotage him

FT View

The FT View: The complex aftermath of the Genoa tragedy
Italy has a strong case at the EU for investing in ageing infrastructure

The FT View: UK exams success masks dangers of a skills gap Numbers taking maths and science are up, but languages are down

The Big Read

The Big Read: Europopulism: Immigration provides opening for Sweden’s right wing
Isolated by the political mainstream, the Sweden Democrats could become one of the biggest parties

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