African countries asked to use benefits from extractives sector to fund demographic dividend

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin - UNFPA Executive Director
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin – UNFPA Executive Director

African countries have been called upon to use the benefits that they generate from their extractive sectors to fund the potential of the continent’s demographic dividend to fuel economic growth post millennium development goals.

Demographic dividend, simply put is the economic benefits arising from a significant increase in the ratio of the working population.

Speaking at the High-Level Ministerial Dialogue on Harnessing Demographic Dividend for Agenda 2063, a side event at the ongoing African Ministers of Finance Conference 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, indicated that Africa has been cited as the second fastest growing continent over the past decade, growing at an annual average rate of 5 percent.

He believes that the revenues generated from the sector must be invested in the populations on the continent for economic growth.

Africa’s population is expected to be 35. 3 percent of the global population by the Twenty Second Century.

In his presentation, Dr. Rene Kouassi, head of the Economic Unit of the African Union (AU), noted that the AU’s Agenda 2063 aims at inclusive growth, that includes equality, a profound reduction of poverty and to derive benefits from the huge potential of the continent.

He argued that while the continent is the second fastest growing in the world, that growth is limited by lack of jobs. He indicated that demographic dividend can be achieved through productivity and economic growth of the populations of the continent.

According to him, it is necessary to enhance the skills of the various institutions of the continent and to ensure that these institutions are coherent.

He said growth in employment, the provision of quality employment are objectives of the Agenda 2063.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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