As we begin 2018, we are delighted to have ended 2017 on a high note, confident that we helped make investment in young people the rallying call of the year. Our response to the call of the African Union to develop a roadmap on the demographic dividend has led to actions in the 55 member states, as well as by United Nations agencies, partners, civil society organizations, parliamentarians, and youth groups around the 2017 theme: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in Youth.” We believe that this message is now beginning to sink in.
UNFPA WCARO is delighted to have championed advocacy efforts that led to African leaders making young people their top priority in all their development, peace and security initiatives. Stakeholders and partners are increasingly keen to invest in family planning, health systems, education and job creation. National leaders of our region are vocal in their commitment to ensuring that their populations can enjoy the values of a democratic society; pillars that constitute the demographic dividend agenda.
Key actors across the continent got involved and engaged in discussions, activities, projects and programmes around the demographic dividend agenda. This helped us to further raise awareness and explore ways of enhancing our understanding of the concept of demographic dividend and what it means in operational terms.
Now, at the end of the year, it is important to reflect on the progress made and the challenges ahead. We must also decide how to consolidate discussions around the demographic dividend and its operationalization, in order to continue our work in transforming the lives of young people.