England and Ghana celebrate their shared sporting, and cultural, history

Ghana and England have never met before at senior international level, which is surprise on several counts.

Ghana's supporters were allotted 21,000 tickets for their match at Wembley Stadium this evening. They sold out quickly, and it is fair to guess that many more West Africans have purchased seats in the neutral sections. The number of Ghanaians living in Britain, estimated at more than 90,000, could more than fill the venue.

The demand is understandable. There is history to be witnessed, and a long sporting relationship to be celebrated.

Ghana and England have never met before at senior international level, which is a surprise on several counts.

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After a rocky patch, Thiago Motta has matured into a gem for Inter and Italy

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Gold Coast, as Ghana was known before its independence in 1957, was once a British colony. You would have imagined an invitation to play a friendly might have taken less than 54 years to extend.

As for a competitive encounter, the last World Cup had been expected to provide it. The Black Stars, as the national team have called themselves since taking the flag of independent Ghana as their direct inspiration, finished second in their group in South Africa last summer, en route to the quarter-finals.

England would have met them at the last 16 stage had they won their group. Instead, the United States pipped them, in turn to be knocked out by the excellent Ghanaians.

The crossovers between the two football cultures go back through two centuries. Ask Sheila Leeson.

She is a 78-year-old from Yorkshire who tonight will watch the game at Wembley as a guest of the English Football Association.

Leeson's grandfather was a pioneering footballer named Arthur Wharton. Wharton's grandmother, in turn, was a Ghanaian princess - or the Ashante equivalent - whose gifted, athletic grandson might - should, according to many accounts - have played international football for England in the late 19th centurys.

He was a successful goalkeeper with several northern English clubs, notably Preston North End.

Wharton, the son of a British teacher and churchman, spent several years of his childhood in Cape Coast, Ghana. The city looks out on the Atlantic, was once an important embarkation point for slaves being shipped to the Americas and Caribbean, and has plenty of monuments both to that brutal era and to the epoch of British sovereignty over the territory.

A bust of Queen Victoria overlooks a sun-kissed square close to the sea, where, according to some accounts, football was first introduced to Ghanaians in the 19th century. Go there now, and schoolboys can be found playing improvised matches.

Ghana was the first of the British colonies in sub-Saharan Africa to gain self-determination. It did so in a mood of festival rather than rancour and the nascent Black Stars would become a focus of patriotic expression.

Stanley Matthews, England's most admired player of the era, travelled to Ghana as a guest of the new government, and seated on a throne, would be given the title "Soccerthene", something like Grand Duke of football.

English clubs toured there in the close seasons in the 1960s, playing clubs like Accra's Hearts of Oak.

Ghana would be the first West African nation to host an African Nations Cup, in 1963, and the first to win that title, which they did on home soil and again two years later.

Their clubs would have an impact beyond Ghana's borders, too. Asante Kotoko won African Champions Cups in the 1970s and 1980s. From provincial Cape Coast, even the wonderfully named Mysterious Dwarves ventured into continental competitions.

Cape Coast is home to one of the game's more exotic derbies: the Dwarves share their fiercest local rivalry with Venemous Vipers at the Robert Mensah Arena, a ground named after a Black Stars goalkeeper of the late 1960s, who died suddenly and young after a brawl outside a bar.

A short walk from there, and from Victoria Park, is a smart, white building, with pillars along its facade and well manicured, grassed playing fields in its surrounds.

It is St Augustine's College, an institution with strong echoes of an English public school, and, not long ago, a place where a gifted young footballer could be glimpsed learning his game. His name was Michael Essien.

Like Arthur Wharton, he would leave Cape Coast and reach his peak as a professional in English football.

Chelsea's Essien will miss tonight's fixture, having asked for rest. But several Premier League footballers will be in the Ghana side, as well plenty from the World Cup, and a scattering of players who won the World Under 20 Cup in 2009.

The atmosphere should certainly be lively, and, in Sheila Leeson's seat, rather reflective.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

The Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index

Mazen Abukhater, principal and actuary at global consultancy Mercer, Middle East, says the company’s Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index - which benchmarks 34 pension schemes across the globe to assess their adequacy, sustainability and integrity - included Saudi Arabia for the first time this year to offer a glimpse into the region.

The index highlighted fundamental issues for all 34 countries, such as a rapid ageing population and a low growth / low interest environment putting pressure on expected returns. It also highlighted the increasing popularity around the world of defined contribution schemes.

“Average life expectancy has been increasing by about three years every 10 years. Someone born in 1947 is expected to live until 85 whereas someone born in 2007 is expected to live to 103,” Mr Abukhater told the Mena Pensions Conference.

“Are our systems equipped to handle these kind of life expectancies in the future? If so many people retire at 60, they are going to be in retirement for 43 years – so we need to adapt our retirement age to our changing life expectancy.”

Saudi Arabia came in the middle of Mercer’s ranking with a score of 58.9. The report said the country's index could be raised by improving the minimum level of support for the poorest aged individuals and increasing the labour force participation rate at older ages as life expectancies rise.

Mr Abukhater said the challenges of an ageing population, increased life expectancy and some individuals relying solely on their government for financial support in their retirement years will put the system under strain.

“To relieve that pressure, governments need to consider whether it is time to switch to a defined contribution scheme so that individuals can supplement their own future with the help of government support,” he said.

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

RESULTS

ATP China Open
G Dimitrov (BUL x3) bt R Bautista Agut (ESP x5)
7-6, 4-6, 6-2
R Nadal (ESP x1) bt J Isner (USA x6)
6-4, 7-6

WTA China Open
S Halep (ROU x2) bt D Kasatkina (RUS)
6-2, 6-1
J Ostapenko (LAT x9) bt S Cirstea (ROU)
6-4, 6-4

ATP Japan Open
D Schwartzman (ARG x8) bt S Johnson (USA)
6-0, 7-5
D Goffin (BEL x4) bt R Gasquet (FRA)
7-5, 6-2
M Cilic (CRO x1) bt R Harrison (USA)
6-2, 6-0

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