24 January 2017

Africa: The Demographic Dividend at the core of 28th African Union summit

press release

The 28th African Union Summit will take place from 22 to 31 January 2017 under the theme “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the youth”. This big event, which, at the highest level convenes decision-makers, development partners, the civil society and the media, offers a great opportunity to strengthen advocacy among African Heads of States to achieve the Demographic Dividend in Africa.

As part of the African Union Summit, the UNFPA West & Central Africa Regional Office is committed to advocacy, policy dialogue and capacity-building activities to encourage countries to increase their investment in human capital, especially in youth.

Planned activities

-       Annual General Meeting of the African Youth Commission from 22 to 25 January 2017 under the theme “Promoting Youth Activism for Appropriate Channeling of Investments in Youth”

-       Gender Pre-Summit, 22-27 January 2017 “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in the youth: empowerment of the youth especially young girls for leadership and civic participation”

-       Speech by the UNFPA Regional Director, Mr. Mabingué Ngom, to be delivered on Thursday 26 January 2017, from 9 am to 9:45 am in the framework of the African Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development on “Extending the Action Plan of African Parliamentarians on the Implementation of the AU Road Map on The demographic dividend”,

-       Introductory session on the demographic dividend for the regional press, Thursday 26 January 2017, from 1:30 pm to 4:45 pm

Speakers

  • Mr. Mabingué Ngom, UNFPA Regional Director for West & Central Africa
  • Mr. Constant-Serge Bounda, Head of UNFPA Liaison Office
  • Mr. Samuel Kissi, member of  the UNFPA Liaison Office
  • Mrs. Prudence Ngwenya Nonkululeko, Head of the Human resources, Science and Technology Department, African Union Commision
  • Prof. Alioune Sall, Director of African Futures Institute (South Africa)

-       Working breakfast offered by His Excellency Idriss Deby Itno, President of Chad Republic and current President of the African Union to the new UN Secretary General and to the Heads of State and Government. The discussions will focus on the African Union’s 2017 theme on harnessing the Demographic Dividend through investments in youth, on Sunday 29 January 2017.

-       High-level meeting on family planning with UNFPA and DFID, Sunday 29 January 2017, from 11:00 to 12:30 with interventions by the Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

 

-       Launch of the African Union 2017 theme: ‘harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth’

 CONTEXT

The population of West and Central Africa is mainly characterized by its youth. Almost two thirds are under 24 years of age. Young people between 15 and 24 of age make up 60 per cent of the unemployed in Africa and those who manage to find work are involved in the informal sector with low incomes. These young people are experiencing lack of education and skills with poor access to sexual and reproductive health services. Youth can be a driving force for the development of the African continent if adequate investments are made in education, health, employment and good governance.

In view of those considerations, the African Union has committed to advancing a continental vision contained in the Agenda 2063 “The Africa we want” which makes the harnessing of the demographic dividend a priority. The demographic dividend will play a significant role in the agenda of Heads of States and Governments’ Summits in 2017. At the AU summit in January 2017, the African Union will also launch the theme of the year which is ‘harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth’.

Why DD is important for Africa?

Harnessing this human potential for Africa would be very crucial for its development in a context where the continent is struggling to emerge from poverty.

If countries in sub-Saharan Africa could follow the same path as some East Asian countries (such as the Republic of Korea) in making appropriate investments for young people, the entire region could realize a demographic dividend amounting to almost $ 500 billion a year over a period of 30 years.

 

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