By Philip Yatai
Kaduna – The Kaduna State Government on Monday began a five-day workshop to develop a roadmap for demographic dividend profiling, as part of efforts to accelerate economic growth and development in the state.
Malam Salisu Lawal, Director, Development Aid Coordination, state Planning and Budget Commission, said at the opening of the workshop in Kaduna that the goal was to improve the lives of the people.
Salisu said that the roadmap would guide the development and implementation of demographic dividend programmes in the state.
He further said it would create the needed synergy, collaboration and support within and between sectors towards achieving a common goal.
According to him, demographic dividends can only be achieved through concerted and coordinated multi-sectoral efforts in health, education, employment, governance and youth participation.
“The Kaduna State Government had in 2016 sensitised relevant stakeholders on the need to harness demographic dividends to support the efforts of the administration’s quest to make Kaduna great again.
“It is on this note that Planning and Budget Commission in partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organised the workshop as a starting point of harnessing demographic dividends in the state.
“We will be engaging relevant stakeholders to come up with harmonised Programme of Action and allocate human and financial resources, including collaboration and support from the development partners, the academia, media and civil society organisations,” he said.
The director thanked UNFPA for supporting the state to harness its demographic dividends.
Also, Ms Mariama Darboe, Head of UNFPA, Kaduna State Sub-office, noted that policy and decision makers need to move the country forward by investing in young people.
Darboe said that Kaduna State has the capacity to harness its demographic dividends and the political will to empower its young population.
She described demographic dividends as the economic growth potential that result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population was larger than the non-working-age.
“We cannot develop economically if our young people are left behind in the development agenda. We must invest in our youth and young people holistically to accelerate economic growth and development.
“But we need to have a plan in place for this to happen which is what the workshop intends to address, “she said.