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Dr. Natalia Kanem, the acting Executive Director of UNFPA met Her Excellency Amira El Fadil, the Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission on the 5 th of July 2017 in Ethiopia at the margins of the 29 th AU Summit. The African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) recommit to accelerate efforts to implement roadmap to harness the demographic dividend through investments in youth.
The discussions were about joint action to accelerate the implementation of the African Union Roadmap to Harness the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth. The Roadmap was endorsed by the Heads of State and Government in January this year. “Harnessing the demographic dividend requires that we all work together to fully implement the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development in Africa. We are committed to support the African Union in its efforts to address sexual and reproductive health and rights, child marriage, female genital mutilation and other practices that violate women and child rights and impede their role in transforming our societies," said Dr Natalia Kanem.
Harnessing the demographic dividend to Africa’s transformative development has been repeatedly acknowledged by African leaders at the highest level and in both key ministerial and experts platforms. During the meeting the Commission highlighted the need for continued engagement in the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA), the Campaign to end Child Marriage that seeks to keep girls out of early marriage and in school and the need to fast track the implementation of the Addis Ababa Declaration on Sexual Reproductive Rights and Health.
Her Excellency Amira El Fadil, the Commissioner for Social Affairs at the African Union Commission valued the need of need for the development and implementation of sound policies in education, health, including family planning and the creation of an enabling macroeconomic environment.
“Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth is the key to achieving the bold aspirations of Agenda 2063. We need to implement the key deliverables in the Roadmap and transform education and skills development, health and wellbeing, empowerment as well as employment and entrepreneurship as we march towards inclusive economic growth and sustainable development,” she said.
Facilitating job creation and access to decent employment and increases in the productive workforce will lead to higher growth and rising income. Harnessing the demographic dividend presents an opportunity to build resilience of young people and address the root causes of many of the key challenges facing Africa including forced migration, radicalization and violent extremism.
On UNFPA side, the meeting were attended by Samuel Kissi, AUC Support Specialist; Zane Dangor Chief of Ethiopian Liaison Office (OiC); Constant Serge Bounda, Representative to Madagascar and outgoing Chief ELO and Mabingue Ngom, Regional Director for West and Central Africa.