The government of Uganda together with the Union for African Population Studies is set to host the 8th African Population Conference next month.
The conference scheduled for November 18-22, 2019 in Entebbe is held every after four years with the aim of sharing and disseminating scientific information on key population, health and development issues facing the continent.
Addressing journalists at media centre on Thursday, the state minister for finance in charge of planning, Mr David Bahati, said the conference "is to provide an opportunity for networking and knowledge sharing between researchers, policy makers, public health experts among other key stakeholders in the population and development field."
The minister said Africa's demographic dynamics are shaping its present and future development agenda and must be harnessed for social economic transformation.
"Africa in general is a very young continent. About 40 per cent of the population is below 15 years of age, and an additional 30 per cent fall between 15-24 years. This demographic profile presents a unique opportunity to achieve massive social economic transformation through harnessing the demographic dividend," Mr Bahati said.
The minister said Uganda's population of 42 million people with over 70 per cent under the age of 30 years is a potential asset for national development through harnessing the demographic dividend, which is also important for achieving Vision 2040 and the National Development Plan.
He attributed the country's hosting of such international and continental conferences to the increased confidence of the international community in Uganda's peace and stability and appreciation of its people's hospitality.
"These are dividends of peace and security we have maintained over time but also confidence in our population in terms of hospitality, so it is a good sign that the international community now have full confidence in our country and we should take advantage of this to get some economic benefits," he said.
"Uganda will not only share the pathways towards attaining the demographic dividend in Cognizance of the country's vision 2040 as well as the sustainable development goals, but will learn from countries that have advanced in domesticating the 2017 African Union Roadmap of harnessing the demographic dividend," Mr Bahati added.
Meanwhile the Director General of the National Population Council Dr Jotham Musinguzi said while the country's population continues to grow, "government must continue putting in place good programs since education sector is giving us skills, our people should become more innovative and in that way they will invest in the economy and will become the drivers of the economy."
Uganda has made good progress in reducing fertility rate from 7.4 children 20 years ago to 5.4 currently.
"Uganda has reduced fertility rate by 2 children in 20 years, this is important and a good achievement," Dr Musinguzi said.
The conference will be under the theme "Harnessing Africa's population dynamics for sustainable development: 25 years after Cairo and beyond."
The first conference was first held in Senegal in 1988 while the last conference was held in South Africa in 2015.