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Africa has a young and increasing population which represents an unprecedented opportunity and challenge for the continent. The opportunity is made up of a large emerging consumer market as well as the potential to become a major player in productive activities. Translating this nascent opportunity into real economic benefit will require macro-economic and micro-economic changes including dealing with some systemic inhibitors. Large infrastructure deficits, working population skills mismatch, the lack of access to new technologies, weak institutions including in the financial sector and low levels of regional trade and integration are some of the key issues that will need to be addressed to create a successful economic and social environment in Africa. 
 
Without the participation of the private sector, these challenges will not be solved and the creations of jobs for the growing population will not happen. There is consequently a strong incentive for the private sector to be engaged in harnessing the Demographic Dividend (DD) and the achievement of universal access to sexual and reproductive health, the realization of reproductive rights and the reduction of maternal mortality.
 
The UNFPA Ethiopia Liaison Office to the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) focuses strongly on the Demographic Dividend, which is the 2017 theme of the African Union and is working on increasing engagement of the private sector.
 
The Ethiopia Liaison Office works to promote and demonstrate the added value in engaging the private sector towards harnessing the Demographic Dividend in Africa. The Liaison Office is contextualizing its approach in the African setting and identifying existing UNFPA initiatives with the private sector that can be scaled up.