The demographic dividend is the economic payoff that can happen when there are relatively large numbers of people of working age. This can occur when substantial declines in fertility lead to a lower share of dependent young children in the population – a boon that will last until the bulge of workers begin to age and retire and the number of dependent elderly rises.
Many developing countries, especially in Africa and Asia, face such a potential “demographic dividend” today, because they’ve undergone a rapid decline in the number of children born to each womn, and their young people today will represent a proportionately large working age population with fewer dependents in the coming 20-40 years. But the demographic dividend is not automatic, and realizing it depends on appropriate and timely public policies and investments.
Timely policies are needed to empower, educate and employ young and working age people in order for countries to reap the social and economic benefits of the dividend. Mobilizing robust multistakeholder partnerships across sectors will be instrumental for the many countries facing the largest ever generation of young people. While there is no single set of policies that apply to all countries, there are key, mutually reinforcing policy actions and timely investments that can accelerate the process and yield greater economic returns.
The Global Agenda Council on the Demographic Dividend aims to produce thought leadership and provide policy advice to decision-makers and stakeholders across sectors on harnessing the social and economic benefits of the demographic dividend. Working with governments, civil society and the private sector, the council’s goal is to build greater understanding of and advocate for strategic investments needed to empower, educate and employ young and working age people to advance economic growth and sustainable development. Depending on the gaps and needs within individual countries, key investments may address reproductive rights, access to family planning, better health systems and quality education, on-the-job mentoring, and a welcoming climate for business.
The council’s objectives over the 2014-2016 term aim to:
• Sensitize and raise consciousness of leaders and decision-makers on the urgent need for simultaneous, mutually reinforcing social and economic investments and policies to realize the short- and long-term gains of the demographic dividend
• Foster greater understanding and collective thinking around the importance of integrated investments needed across sectors for countries to realize the dividend, providing policy advice and thought leadership to government and other stakeholders at global, regional and national levels
• Catalyse greater political traction and public-private partnership on the demographic dividend, leveraging the cooperation, expertise and resources of the private sector in these efforts
• Mobilize champions from across regions and sectors to advocate for, and broaden the coalitions around the demographic dividend agenda globally, harnessing the experiences of East Asia and Latin America, building south-south dialogue
• Support the production of country case studies
The council is chaired by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNFPA and co-chaired by Karl Hofmann, President of the Population Services International.
Council Manager: Vanessa Moungar, Community Lead, Regional Strategies - Africa, Global Leadership Fellow, firstname.lastname@example.org
Forum Lead: Nicholas Davis, Head of Society and Innovation, Member of the Executive Committee, Nicholas.Davis@weforum.org