African ministers meet over population growth
Posted Monday, October 14 2013 at 11:20
Addis Ababa- Africa is one of the continents with the youngest population and low levels of development. Upon
this background ministers and other top leaders from across Africa met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia discuss how to
deal with the issue.
179 governments committed to a 20-year Programme of Action to deliver human rights-based development. Since
the adoption of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (PoA) in
1994, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), working jointly with the African Union and UNFPA, has provided
intergovernmental platform to translate the ICPD into regional realities.
In 2012, while global growth declined by 2.7 per cent, due to the economic crisis, Africa bucked the trend and
grew at 5 per cent. Notably, all our sub-regions grew faster than the global average, with the highest rate
being 6.3 per cent and the lowest one 3.5 per cent.
“Smart investments in human capital and institutional capacity with emphasis on domestic mobilisation are
critical. Therefore, strong government commitment coupled with strategic planning are key,” Mr Ato Hailemariam
Dessalegn, the prime Minister of Ethiopia, said at the opening of the conference recently.
“That means despite our exceptional demographic vitality, and even more astounding despite our 5 per cent
average growth, we are not capable of creating the 15 million jobs we need every year,” he said.
One consequence of this has been deregulated mobility with all the aggravated treatment of African migrants.
Another consequence has been the alienation of a much better educated, connected and urbanised youth, than the
“Africa needs industrialisation because it is the only way we are going to deal with the combined strength of
more people; more young people indeed, more urbanised people that do not want to be the poster boys of Live Aid
concerts,” Mr Carlos Lopes, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECA, added.
Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director United Nations Population Fund, says fertility rates have
remained relatively high on the continent, even as significant progress has been made in decreasing the
“So Africa has to come up with a unique opportunity to forge a new regional position to address the persistent
and emerging challenges of population and development,” Dr Osotimehin says.