Global Agenda Council on Demographic Dividend 2014-2016


The global conversation on population growth has shifted from a focus on control to avoid the damages of overpopulation, to a positive conversation around the potential economic benefits of the youth bulge. As stated by the World Bank, policies to spur future job creation and economic growth are shaped by the age structure of a country’s population. Declining fertility, accelerated by investments in better health, family planning services and gender equality, results in a smaller population at young dependent ages and a larger population of adults in the labour force, and then leads to a swelling in the ranks of the elderly. Through concrete policy actions in family planning, health, education, gender equality and labour market policies, a number of countries have produced large and positive economic returns, referred to as the “demographic dividend.”

Most developing countries have a short window of opportunity to enact policies and promote investments that raise the human capital of young people while positioning them for greater economic productivity when they enter their working years. Demography need not be destiny, but failure of leadership to manage demographic change will guarantee lags in economic growth and increase the risk of social and political turbulence.

The Global Agenda Council on Demographic Dividend seeks to produce multistakeholder thought leadership to support policy-makers in the developing world to harness the economic benefits of the demographic dividend and decrease the risk of social and political turbulence, with youth and women empowerment as pillars of investment for transformation. The council also seeks to raise awareness and support countries to positively impact their transformation towards sustainable and inclusive growth.

The following are the council’s objectives and potential for impact:

  • Build on the council’s acquired reputation for policy advice through previous case studies to inform policy-making, by raising government awareness of impact policies and reinforcing its position as trusted partners accompanying their transformation
  • Leverage the World Economic Forum’s network to bring the private sector to the table to cooperate operationally through capacity building and supply chain management, but also to share insights on the necessary enabling environment to attract FDI, particularly in labour intensive industries
  • Finalize the previously started Pakistan case study, and rely on World Bank and UNFPA latest studies for policy mapping
  • Given the strong linkage with issues related to skills/education, health, governance, cultural values, human rights, security, sustainability and development in general, numerous opportunities to collaborate with the following councils to bring holistic perspectives and solutions: Future of Health, Future of Jobs, Education, Gender Parity, Fragility/Violence/Conflict, Sustainable Development, Inclusive Growth, Human Rights, Trade & FDI, Future of Banking, and Future of Manufacturing
  • Strengthen collaboration and engagement with UNFPA and the World Bank, which could result in the next World Development Report focusing on population, bringing the demographic dividend to the forefront of the development agenda

To get involved please contact

Research Analyst: James Pennington, Associate, Global Agenda Councils,
Council Manager: Vanessa Moungar, Senior Community Manager, Africa,
Forum Lead:
Elsie S. Kanza, Director, Head of Africa,