Europe's population is aging rapidly. Here's how to turn that into an opportunity

Europe is home to the oldest population in the world, with one in four of all Europeans aged 60 and over.

London (CNN)Ahead of this weekend's G20 summit in Japan, an elderly idol group called Obachaaan released a music video welcoming the new visitors to their city, Osaka.

The energetic seniors dance and rap through the port city in the slapstick rap-style video, called "Oba Funk Osaka" -- which charmed at least one world leader.
"Like Japan, Singapore too has an aging population," Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote in a Facebook post in reference to the demographic issue being on the global agenda at the G20 for the first time this year.
    "Staying active and engaged with current affairs is certainly one lesson we can learn from these obachans (grandmothers)."
      Policy-makers, like Lee, are puzzling over how to deal with world's aging population. The over-60s are growing faster than all younger age groups, thanks to people living longer, healthier lives and declining birth rates in many countries.
      It's an issue that is feared to have a swathe of socio-economic consequences -- such as lower economic growth, high public debt burdens, intergenerational tensions, higher health care or pension costs.
      And if you delve into the regional data, it is Europe that is leading the demographic change.
        According to United Nations population data, the continent is home to the oldest populations in the world where one in four of all Europeans are aged 60 and over.
        The European Union's birth rate is at 1.6, far below the average 2.1 births per women needed for a population to sustain itself from one generation to the next.

        A gendered issue

        According to Umberto Cattaneo, an economist at the International Labor Organization (ILO), the rise in short-term employment contracts, the gender pay gap and lack of affordable childcare are some of the reasons why couples are opting against having children in Europe.
        And the situation poses a Catch-22 for women, with the burden of elderly care potentially falling on them if policy-makers fail to provide long-term programs for the elderly.
        "In Europe and Central Asia women perform 67% of the total care in unpaid care work in the region," Cattaneo said. "The risk is that if there is not enough investment in this sector basically women will take up the additional unpaid care work."
        The aging population feeds into a broader trend in Europe, the only region in the world whose population is falling.
        In the next 30 years, the United Nations projects the global population will reach nearly 10 billion people; in Europe though it will fall by as much as 26 million by 2050.
        According to UN projections, between 2015 and 2017 countries in eastern Europe saw the biggest decreases in population -- with Bulgaria, Latvia, Ukraine, Poland and Hungary falling the most.