Finance ministers from around the world have heard that governments must prepare for ageing populations, before it’s too late.
The meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held in Fukuoka, Japan, last week, as part of the G20.
The G20 is being held this year in Japan, where a rapidly ageing population has become a major problem.
Japan’s finance minister, Taro Aso, the host of the meeting, told journalists that governments must develop policies to help cope with ageing populations before it’s too late.
“If the issue of ageing starts to show its impact before you become wealthy, you really won’t be able to take effective measures against it,” he said.
The G20 meetings will be attended by leaders from diverse countries and regions, including the European Union, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Leaders from invited guest countries and international organizations also participate in the summit.
Not all the G20 countries have ageing populations, for example, Saudi Arabia has a young population.
Population aged 60+ to double within 35 years
By 2050, the world is forecast to have two billion inhabitants aged 60 and older, more than double the number in that age bracket in 2017, according to OECD projections.
Yet many countries have not taken steps to adapt their economies and institutions to the changing demographics.
Policies are needed to tackle ageing populations
Those at the meeting discussed the challenges ageing populations pose for G20 members, and policies that can help tackle the issues.
A communique from the meeting said the changing demographics will require fiscal, monetary, financial, and structural responses.
Nations will have to invest in encouraging older people (and women) to participate in labor markets, and will have to promote “elderly-friendly” industries.
A fairer tax system and a sustainable social safety net to provide inter-generational equity was also important, the communique stated.
Banks may also need to adjust their business models and services to suit older customers.
Those at the meeting also expressed concern that an ongoing trade war between the United States and China could harm global economic growth.
The meeting wrapped up on Sunday.