Dakar, Senegal – 5 March, 2019: The UNFPA Progress Report on 2018 Demographic Dividend in West and Central Africa was launched Tuesday 5th March 2019 by Ambassador of Madagascar in Dakar, His Excellency Mr. Auguste Pareina, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and the Regional Director of UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) for West and Central Africa, Mr Mabingué Ngom. The report was launched in the presence of diplomatic missions accredited to Senegal.
While launching the report the UNFPA Regional Director Mr. Ngom says available record puts population growth rate of sub-Saharan Africa at 2.7% in (compared to 1.2% worldwide) that the record strongly militates against the continent’s development.
The Regional Director stressed that in parallel with the rapid population growth, there is a drastic reduction in resources in these countries, as is the case in Lake Chad, which lost 90% of its area between 1970 and now. Thus UNFPA in a bid to address the negative effect it poses on the continent renewed its call for countries in the region to take advantage of Demographic Dividend in order to reverse the trend.
It is worthy to note that the mandate of UNFPA is to end unmet need for family planning; end preventable maternal deaths and end gender-based violence and harmful practices. To achieve these goals, UNFPA is working closely with countries in the region and is undertaking major projects, including the World Bank-funded SWEDD initiative to empower women and girls in the Sahel and the Sahel. Muskoka project originally launched by France, expanded to Denmark to strengthen the health of young people and adolescents.
In 2018, several campaigns and interventions have yielded positive results among traditional leaders,community leaders, religious leaders and opinion leaders who share the same ideal of achieving demographic dividend. Some influential leaders advocate ''say No to child marriages'' encouraging family planning and abandoning female genital mutilation.
In conclusion, the UNFPA Regional Director Mabingué Ngom returned to the symbolism of 2019 and said, "We are approaching 2019 with optimism, especially as we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of our organization, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA50) ''