Aging and Achieving a Demographic Dividend in Africa Working Group

Fueled by the global discourse on a post-2015 framework, and achieving a demographic dividend in Africa, deliberations on how to deliver on Africa’s promise of sustained growth and development are intensifying- with a focus on leveraging the dynamism and potential inherent in Africa’s large population of children and youth – above all through the realization of a first, and possibly second, demographic dividend (DD). Within this context, new thinking is challenging the narrow focus on young and the assumed economic and strategic irrelevance of Africa’s older population. It asserts that, if harnessed appropriately, the roles and impacts of older Africans may be a unique strength, not only for promoting drivers particularly of a first DD, but for building future societies that are just, and grounded in African values of family and inter-generational cohesion. However, there is as yet a critical need for a fuller understanding of the specific relevance of older people to an achievement of a first DD in the continent and key policy implications arising from it. In order to bridge this gap and connect aging and DD debates in Africa, the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United National Economic Commission for African (UNECA) have established a new Working Group to investigate and illuminate implications of Africa’s older population for the drivers and realization of a first demographic dividend in Africa.  To this end, the group consists of 17 key experts from academia, civil society and policy across a spectrum of substantive fields. working group B banner Despite a growing awareness of aging as a human development issue, Africa’s older population continues to receive at best minimal attention in mainstream debates on social and economic development in the continent. This gap can be understood, at least in part, as a function of the small proportion (5%) of older adults in Africa’s population as well as common assumptions of old age as a period of dependence and unproductivity.  Indeed, as indicated earlier, the notion of a ‘dependency ratio’ of ‘productive’ adults’ (15-59/64 years) to ‘unproductive’ older adults and children, underpins current thinking on the potential for a first DD in Africa. The Working Group’s viewpoint challenges the presumed economic irrelevance of older Africans. It asserts that:  ‘to fully realize a first DD, Africa needs to maximize the potential gains and minimize losses to the key drivers of such a dividend that arise from the critical social and economic roles that older people play in African families and societies as a result of their seniority or generational position.

ADDA Working Group Members

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  • Isabella Aboderin, APHRC, Working Group Chair
  • Rose Aderolili, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
  • John Beard, World Health Organization, Department of Ageing and Lifecourse
  • David Bloom, Harvard School of Public Health
  • Chinwe Effiong, Junior Achievement
  • Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, Cornell University
  • Alex Ezeh, APHRC
  • Sahlu Haile, Packard Foundation
  • Nesta Hatendi, Independent Consultant

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  • Caroline Kabiru, APHRC
  • Benoit    Kalasa,    United Nations Population Fund
  • Olawale Maiyegun, African Union Commission, Department of Social Affairs
  • Andrew Mason, University of Hawaii, National Transfers Account Project
  • Blessing Mberu, APHRC
  • Bolatito Ogunbiyi, United Nations Population Fund
  • Ademola Olajide, African Union Commission, Health, Nutrition and Population, Department of Social Affairs
  • Agnes Soucat, African Development Bank, Human Development
  • Steven Were Omamo, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
  • Thokozile Ruzvidzo, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Center for Gender and Social Development

group photo May 2014   [do action=”close-column”/] [do action=”close-table”/]

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