The NEPAD Agency and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have signed a Memorandum of Understandingto develop a joint initiative that will address appropriate solutions for Africa’s changing population issues. The MoU was signed by NEPAD CEO Dr Ibrahim Mayaki and UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin in Midrand, South Africa.
The ‘Demographic Dividend Initiative’ will capture and analyse vital data as a strategic framework for effective policy making and implementation. It will address issues related to youth, gender, maternal health, HIV/AIDS and family planning.
Dr Mayaki said that population is not a matter of numbers but about people and their growing demands. He cautioned that Africa's young and fast-growing workforce requires concrete opportunities and solutions for effective policy planning and job creation. “Africa’s demographic landscape challenges are multi-dimensional and multi-sectorial,” he said.
UNFPA Executive Director, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin and Dr Mayaki during the signing ceremony
Dr Osotimehin spoke of the need to effectively tap into the potentials of Africa’s large youth population and develop their skills as an engine for economic growth. He said that NEPAD represents a very robust platform for Africans to better understand the importance of the programme.
NEPAD's Director of Programme Implementation and Coordination Mrs Estherine Fotabong gave a brief presentation on the Agency’s Rural Futures programme that places emphasis on rural demographics, transformation, youth employment and agricultural-led development. Mrs Fotabong also highlighted NEPAD’s Gender Programme which aims to scale-up women’s empowerment and gender equality in Sub-Saharan Africa.
UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Director Dr Julitta Onabanjo stressed that the data captured by the initiative will help to strengthen member states’ capacity for improved evidence-based planning, knowledge sharing, harmonisation at regional levels and South-South cooperation.
Group photo: Dr Mayaki and Dr Babatunde Osotimehin flanked by NEPAD and UNFPA delegation