With the right investments in place The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has predicted a 500 billion dollars yield over the next 30 years, for Sub-Sahara Africa through its demographic endowment.
The fund stressed that this was achievable if public policies were appropriately implemented by respective governments.
The prediction was contained in a statement issued by Abraham Gelaw, UNFPA Communications Officer, in Abuja on Wednesday. It said there are windows of opportunities to harness the demographic dividend which is time bound and requires immediate investments.
The statement quoted the UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, as saying this at the opening of the High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend for Agenda 2063 in Addis Ababa.
It said critical investments on the youth, adolescent girls, need to be made as regards sexual and reproductive health, quality education, along with investments on infrastructure development and the right governance structure. The statement urged member states to move from commitments to actions.
It also quoted the Deputy Executive Secretary of UNECA, Dr Abdalla Hamdok, as saying that Africa has been experiencing a high economic growth but poverty remains high.
The statement mentioned that the continent needed to grow with equity and manage its population and demographic changes along with inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development.
“I believe that for Africa to benefit from the demographic dividend, we must take advantage of its population structure, “its natural resources endowment to coordinate and the expansion of investments in human development and social protection,” the statement said.
According to the statement, Dr Nkosazana Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), stressed that the vision of Agenda 2063 is to build a prosperous and peaceful Africa.
Zuma was represented by Dr René Kouassi, Director of Economic Affairs at the AUC, said the agenda requires reaping the demographic dividend and exploiting the continent’s human potential.
It said ministers from Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia and South Africa spoke at Ministerial Dialogue.
“The ministers contended that investments on quality education, health, job creation, entrepreneurship skills of young people, empowerment of women and girls are pivotal in taking advantage of the demographic dividend. “It is also important for shaping Africa’s development for the next 50 years as envisioned by the African Union’s Agenda 2063,’’ the statement said.
It said that the panellists and participants of the Ministerial Dialogue highlighted in their interventions how the issue of demographic dividend is central to Africa’s development agenda.
“This is reaffirmed in the Common African Position on Post-2015 Development Agenda which positions demographic dividend as a critical tool to achieve Africa’s sustainable development,” it said.
The statement said the outcome of this High Level Ministerial Dialogue is believed to provide inputs for the upcoming African Heads of State Summit, the International Financing for Development Conference.
“The Dialogue was conducted as part of the on-going Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.
“It was jointly organised by UNFPA and the UN Economic Commission for Africa,’’ said the statement.