Professor John K. Anarfi, a social demographer with the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana, Legon, has called for a rapid reduction in mortality and fertility levels in order to gain from the country’s demographic dividend.
He explained that the reduction was a requirement if Ghana was to take advantage of the demographic window of opportunity (demographic dividend) that would speed up the decline in its dependency ratio and its fertility.
Prof. Anarfi made the call at a day’s media sensitization workshop on how Ghana could capitalize on the demographic dividend and equip the media as partners in development planning with the knowledge of demographic dividend.
It was organized by the National Development Planning Commission in collaboration with the National Population Council with support from the United Nations Population Fund and Agence Francaise de Development.
Prof. Anarfi noted that Ghana in the past 25 years had experienced weak economic growth, which was below the population growth resulting in a decline of the population’s standard of living.
He said though there had been a fertility decline, with the current 4.0 children born/woman, it was steady and called for the need to address the issues by pushing for further policy implication, education of the girl-child, women economic empowerment and good governance.
“For Ghana to benefit from the demographic dividend over the next 20 years, we need to redouble efforts to accelerate the decline in fertility whilst we lower mortality levels through revitalizing existing health and family planning programmes”.
Dr Grace Bediako of the NDPC acknowledged the existing knowledge gap and called for the need to bridge that by empowering the media with information so they could generate discussions.