AFIDEP’s Senior Knowledge Translation Scientist, Dr. Bernard Onyango represented AFIDEP at a dialogue that is among the various events being held in the lead-up to the ICPD25 Nairobi Summit. The dialogue, titled, “What’s Changed in Middle-Income Countries in Southern Africa?” took place on 11 September 2019 in Namibia, where the First Lady of the Republic of Namibia, Monica Geingos, joined stakeholders in reflecting on the last 25 years, future opportunities, as well as challenges in driving the population and development agenda.
According to Dr Bernard Onyango, the meeting focused on the experience of five middle-income countries (Mauritius, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, eSwatini) and one high-income country (Seychelles). These countries face varied but unique population and development challenges from the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.
“On average, they are more advanced in their demographic transition, with total fertility ranging from 1.5 in Mauritius to 3.6 in Namibia. As a result, some of the countries are at an advanced stage to capitalise on having a large working-age population relative to a dependent population and harness the demographic dividend. For example, 7 out of 10 people in Mauritius are of working age. Having said that, southern Africa countries, such as South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and eSwatini, have very high unemployment rates. This undermines the promise that a large youthful workforce could lead to significant demographic dividends. Further, with the exception of Mauritius, the rest of these countries suffer from high levels of inequality, while economic growth in most of the countries has been quite sluggish in the last decade.” says Dr. Onyango.
The #ICPD25 Nairobi Summit will be held on 12-14 November 2019 with the theme “Accelerating the promise”. Among the major highlights of the event will be a signature session on Demographic Dividend and Diversity that will give participants an opportunity to share experiences and lessons learnt from harnessing the demographic dividend. Aiming towards building an inclusive society, the session will explore how countries can seize opportunities and respond to development needs of their people.
Learn more about #ICPD25 Nairobi Summit on https://www.nairobisummiticpd.org/