As communities across the globe mark July 11 as World Population Day, leaders in London gathered for the Family Planning Summit will be joined by counterparts across Africa who are participating in concurrent events to address the power of the continent’s demographic dividend potential – and its problems and pitfalls.
By 2050, Nigeria is expected to become the world’s third-largest nation, and it is one of just nine countries that will collectively account for half of the world’s population growth between now and then. Along with Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo, five of them are in Africa, where 41 percent of the population already is under the age of 15.
That’s according to the United Nations World Population Prospects: the 2017 Revision report released in June, one that reasserts the “demographic dividend” that African countries might experience with sufficient investment in education, health care and employment opportunities. With the continent’s overall population expected to double in the same timeframe, all African countries are developing plans to harness the demographic dividend in keeping with the African Union agenda and roadmap.
So in Abuja, the UNFPA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation join officials to focus on family planning. In Zambia, the emphasis is on improving access to reproductive health care. Côte d’Ivoire just finished a weeklong series on family planning and the role of community leaders, while Accra hosts today a forum on Ghana’s family planning successes and goals. Tanzanians will explore the role of the private sector in family planning to deliver on the demographic dividend, while Kenya plans a review of existing programs and the launch of key relevant documents.
In London on Monday, summit participants including UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed of Nigeria discussed the Ouagadougou Partnership, a network of nine West African countries and partners focused on adding 2.2 million more family planning users by 2020, with additional discussions on family planning in the Sahel. Today’s events focus on global family planning initiatives and priorities with a number of African leaders serving on discussion panels.
To see the complete Family Planning Summit agenda, see this link. A livestream link also is available.
Image: UNFPA, Amina Mohammed