ECA meeting in Accra to discuss strategy and business plan on population, youth employment

Africa has many issues confronting the continent, despite the enormous natural and human resources available to its citizens. While growth hasn’t been consistent, the continent’s youth, known to be the largest among the population are facing unemployment – but a lot can be done to address employment, particularly, youth unemployment.

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Sub-Regional Office for West Africa (SRO/WA) has been working on a new specialized concept known as Demographic Dynamics for Development (DDD), and a centre has been started. According to the Office, the efforts are part of the overall reform of the United Nations System and are guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063.

“The overall goal is to support the continent so that it can effectively address one of its key challenges: sustained and inclusive economic growth that will create decent jobs, especially for young people,” it says.

In pursuant of that, the Office is organising a two-day validation meeting in Accra from April 23 to 24, 2019 to discuss the document and collate input from experts.

It says, the choice of DDD for the West Africa sub-region is based on several aspects.

“The West African sub-region is indeed marked by specific demographic dynamics. 30 per cent of the continent’s population is concentrated there and it is home to Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. The sub-region also has the highest fertility and natural growth rates of the population and the highest early marriage rates in the world, while being an area characterised by the emergence of migration issues and by emergency population movements, partially linked to insecurity,” it added.

While it notes that the situation raises concerns about the related implications for the development of West African countries, these dynamics provide a window of opportunity to make the most of the demographic dividend. In addition, the cross-cutting nature of the demo-economic dimension in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is reflected in most of the SDGs, it said in a concept note on the meeting.

In furtherance of the objectives of the mission and attributions, the SRO/WA undertook a study on the operationalisation of the specialised Centre on DDD.

It indicates that the study includes an analysis of the state of affairs of the issue in West Africa as well as a business plan.

“This business plan, which is the flagship deliverable of the study, provides the Centre’s strategic direction, organisational chart, resources, funding and communication strategy, as well as a four-year indicative programme of activities (2019-2022),” it added.

According to SRO/WA the first meeting of experts, held in November 2018 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, discussed the issue of demographic dynamics for development, as well as the interim report of the study. The experts welcomed, among other things, the relevance of the “DDD” theme, particularly in West Africa, and made recommendations for improving the study.

The meeting in Accra is intended to validate the study on the implementation of a Centre on Demographic Dynamics for Development in West Africa.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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