Friday, October 30, 1998 Published at 18:05 GMT
UN: Africa is dying from Aids
Botswana is worst hit - one in four adults are infected
The United Nations says it expects a dramatic decline in life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa because of the Aids epidemic - in some countries by as much as 20 years.
The new report on population trends says the vast majority of the 30 million people in the world currently infected with the HIV virus live in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
"There'll be a heavy, heavy death toll relating to Aids," he said.
Life expectancy - 47 and shrinking
On average, in the 29 hardest hit African countries, people live for seven years less due to Aids - life expectancy at birth is now estimated at 47 years.
Other countries named in the report include Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, where more than 10% of the adult population is infected by the HIV virus
Eventually, in some African countries, the average life expectancy may drop by 20 years.
Optimism out of Africa
Outside Africa, though, the report is more optimistic, predicting that in 2050 many people will live for one hundred years or more.
"From biblical times there has been this attempt to live a long, healthy life - and that's what's been achieved now," he said.
The world according to the UN is ageing, with an ever growing percentage of the population being over 60 years old.
Europe is most affected, with the proportion of older people expected to increase from 20% in 1998 to 35% in 2050.
World population to reach nine billion
The UN says it expects the world's population to increase from 5.9 to almost nine billion people by the middle of next century but the growth rate is decreasing.
That is due in part to declining birth rates. The global average fertility level is now at 2.7 births per woman - during the early 1950s, the average number was 5 births.