Nigeria to host UNFPA 3-day African leadership summit on demographic dividend

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Abuja  –   The United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) says it is hosting a three-day African regional leadership summit on Demographic Dividend (DD) in Abuja, Nigeria.

The UNFPA Country Representative in Nigeria, Ms Ratidzai Ndhlovu, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja that the event would seek to promote the advantages of population dynamics in the continent.

Ndhlovu explained that experts would exchange ideas on how to build and harness a prosperous population for continental growth.

She added that the forum would examine how to raise employment opportunities, encourage government to invest in education, health, education, food, water and electricity in line with the SDGs.

“In the end, UNFPA seeks to entrench sustainable good governance in Africa in the process of implementing the SDGs,’’ said the country representative.

According to her, researchers need to come up with their findings on various thematic areas.

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However, Ndhlovu urged donors to mobilise fund for the research to trigger and sustain the SDGs.

“UNFPA will lead a discussion of optimal ways by which donors can support seed funding to select institutions to invest in their institutional resources, build institutional capacity in the DD and foster a new generation of DD experts on the continent,’’ she said.

The UN official noted that the DD began in Nigeria in 2003 and aimed to achieve the target by 2013.

“Meanwhile, a statement issued to NAN in Abuja by the UNFPA Media Advisor, Hajiya Kori Habib, said: “Africa is the remaining region of the world where many countries still have the opportunity to realise a demographic dividend.

“Many countries are making progress in the key policy areas, but most countries in East, Central and West Africa must increase their commitment to strategies that hasten a fertility decline and open the window for a demographic dividend.

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“In Northern and Southern Africa, the fertility decline and age-structure transition and higher levels of education achievement have set the stage for a demographic dividend;

“now these countries must put in place the right set of economic and governance policies in order to harness a demographic dividend.
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“While each country is unique, the demographic dividend suggests an opportunity for accelerated economic growth in Africa and the time to take necessary action is now.”

The statement added that key resource persons at the event included Benoit Kalasa, UNFPA TD Director, and Ms Rachel Snow, UNFPA Chief, Population and Development official.

It said the summit would from March 7 to 9, at the Ladi Kwali Hall, Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, from 9 a.m. each day. (NAN)

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