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Africa gets growth blueprint

CHAPADONGO LUNGU, New York
AFRICA and the international community should forge purposeful partnerships to enhance people’s quality of life, President Lungu has said.
And Zambia’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow from US$1,839 in 2013 to US$26,940 by 2053 while the population will leap from the current 15 million to 36 million during the same period.
President Lungu said demographic dividend embodies the integrated development approach that can assist developing countries attain higher outcomes on sustainable development goals (SDGs).
He said it provides a framework to prioritise and address multiple SDGs and targets and can act as a catalyst in mutually-reinforcing the meeting of various goals and targets in the limited time frame.
Demographic dividend is the freeing up of resources for a country’s economic development and the future prosperity of its population as it switches from an agrarian to an industrial economy.
Speaking during a high-level consultative meeting for heads of State and Government on demographic dividend and investing in youth on Tuesday, President Lungu said there is need for African states to continue to advance regional and national efforts to translate the commitments to concrete actions by integrating demographic dimensions in all national development programmes.
This, he said, can be achieved by adopting appropriate policies and prioritising investments that have the capacity to trigger demographic transitions and lead to harnessing the demographic dividend for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development.
Mr Lungu said the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development in Africa Beyond 2014 and the Africa Union Agenda 2063 gives the continent the impetus and commitment to realise its demographic dividend.
Zambia’s demographic outlook shows a young population growing at 2.8 percent per annum, according to the 2000 to 2010 intercensal period, with 45.5 percent of persons aged below 15 years and 36.7 percent of persons aged 15- 35 years.
The President said Zambia has over the last decade recorded sustained economic growth averaging 6.1 percent and graduated into the lower middle-income status in 2011.
“However, these gains have not translated into inclusive and equitable socio-economic development with challenges of high poverty, high unemployment rate, especially for young people,” President Lungu said.
He acknowledged that Zambia’s large youthful population presents an opportunity for harnessing the demographic dividend with right investments made in priority areas of the economy such as education and, health, among others.
Mr Lungu said investing in creating opportunities and supportive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship for all persons of all ages, particularly young people, is an urgent responsibility.
And the President said Zambia conducted a study to assess prospects of harnessing the demographic dividend and explored various priority policy and programme options.
Mr Lungu said findings of the study show that simultaneous and accurate prioritised investments in economic, social and demographic factors through an integrated approach to population and development provides profound evidence that can transform an economy.
He highlighted some key lessons from the study, which says there will be need to align Zambia’s Vision 2030 transformative agenda pillars to the policy wheels for creating and earning the demographic dividend.
If well-implemented, with policies, investments and programmes that simultaneously prioritise economic growth and job creation, education, family planning, health and governance, the country will earn a demographic dividend of US$7,393 per capita.
The per capita GDP will increase from US$1,839 in 2013 to US$26,940 in 2053.
Per capita GDP is a measure of the total output of a country that takes the gross domestic product (GDP) and divides it by the number of people in the country.
Other details of the study are:
• Contraceptive prevalence rate will increase from 45 to 74 percent.
• Total fertility rate will reduce from 5.3 to 2.11.
• There will be a decline in the annual population growth rate from 2.8 to1.3 percent.
• The population size will increase to up to 36 million while the dependency burden will decline from 0.96 to 0.51.
• There will be an increase in the size of the working age population (aged 15 and above) from 7.8 million in 2013 to 26 million in 2053.
• The employment gaps will reduce from 15 million to seven million by 2053.

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