Our Work

Our Work

Regional Analysis of Youth Demographics

The prospects of emulating the Asian countries and harnessing the demographic dividend have excited many African leaders including in the East African Community (EAC). Yet there is still a lack of clarity on the concept and on the required investments and policies that can meet the needs of the youthful population in the region and ignite its full potential to stimulate sustainable socio-economic development. AFIDEP and its partners, with support from the East African Research Fund (EARF) and DFID, are conducting a study to understand the implications of the present and future changes to the demography of youth (15-24 years) in the four EAC countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda) on social services, labour force and urban planning.

The study also explores the policy actions that the four countries could adopt in order to optimise their chances of turning their youthful populations into driving forces for sustainable socioeconomic transformation through the demographic dividend. This one-year long project, which started in February 2017, draws on evidence from Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Project Manager

Bernard O. Onyango, Ph.D.
Bernard O. Onyango, Ph.D. Knowledge Translation Scientist Read More

Project Overview

The African continent is undergoing profound demographic changes characterised by declining fertility and child mortality rates and rapid population growth. As a result, the continent’s population is estimated to increase from about 1.2 billion people to 2.2 billion people between 2015 and 2050. About 41% of the people in the continent are below 15 years old while another 19% are youth between 15 and 24 years old. Africa’s young population is mirrored in the East African Community (EAC) where around 45% of the 150 million people in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda are below 15 years and a further 28% are youth between 15 and 24 years old.

Though a young population presents a significant dependency burden, this can be turned into an opportunity to harness the demographic dividend if fertility and mortality declines rapidly. The reduction in child mortality in one generation and fewer births in subsequent generations can produce a “youth bulge”, which as it progresses over time, will lead to a temporary increase in the proportion of the working age population. If proper investments are made in health and education and there is an enabling economic environment for decent jobs and investments, this phenomenon, called the demographic dividend, can be a stimulus for sustained and accelerated economic development. This is because a higher proportion of the working age population relative to dependents enables households and nations to make savings (because in theory, there are less resources spent on schooling, childhood health care, and other services).

Demographic transition to lower fertility has facilitated a favourable large working-age population (Figure 1) in Eastern Asia (72%) and South Eastern Asia (68%) compared to the EAC (53%). This has enabled countries in the two regions to earn a significant demographic dividend over the last few decades.

Figure 1: Population Pyramids Contrasting Age Structure in the EAC, Eastern Asia and South Eastern Asia, 2015

 

population change sustainable development, demographic dividend, AFIDEP, Teenagers, Youths, Mortality

The prospects of emulating the Asian countries and harnessing the demographic dividend have excited many African leaders including in the EAC. Yet there is still a lack of clarity on the concept and on the required investments and policies that can meet the needs of the youthful population in the region and ignite its full potential to stimulate sustainable socio-economic development. AFIDEP and its partners, with support from the East African Research Fund (EARF) and DFID, are conducting a study to understand the implications of the present and future changes to the demography of youth (15-24 years) in the four EAC countries (Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda) on social services, labour force and urban planning.

 

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