The Demographic Dividend is an opportunity that arises when a country transitions from high to low rates of fertility and child and infant mortality. This transition creates a generation that is significantly larger than the generations immediately preceding and following it. As this cohort enters working age, they have the ability to enter into productive economic activities and invest savings at relatively high rates, thus spurring heightened economic growth. This growth depends however, on the right enabling policy environment.
Favorable demographics do not guarantee increased economic growth. For example, while a number of countries in East Asia realized increased growth from 1965 to 1990 through a combination of demography and policy, a period often referred to as the region’s “economic miracle”, many other countries missed their opportunities during the same time period, despite favorable demographics, in large part due to poor governance and weak policies. Sub-Saharan Africa’s ability to capitalize on its upcoming demographic promise is currently the source of much discussion.
Maximizing the dividend requires social and economic policies that reinforce equality, equitability, and opportunity across the entire population. In order to reap a potential demographic dividend, countries must accelerate reductions in child mortality, increase access to family planning, ensure strong education, especially of girls and women, and institute sound fiscal and labor policies to create the conditions in which working-age citizens can enter a productive workforce. Lessons from the experiences in East Asia and Latin America should inform the decisions of policy-makers in Sub-Saharan Africa. This panel will highlight such lessons.
Hosted in the US Center, located at the Athletes Park in Barra da Tijuca, across from RioCentro.
Don Steinberg, USAID Deputy Administrator
Dr. Eliya Msiyaphazi Zulu, Executive Director of African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
Cassio Turra, VP for Brazilian Association of Population Studies and Associate Professor of Demography at UFMG.
Moderated by Peggy Clark, VP of Policy Programs and Executive Director, Aspen Global Health and Development, Aspen Institute