Demographic dividend: Experts call for private sector partnership in Nigeria
High-level stakeholders in the Private Sector industry; National Population Commission, UN agencies led by UNFPA, HACEY Health Initiative, GBC Health, Population Council and ONE Campaign will tomorrow, Thursday, May 10, 2018 gather to flag off the first Private Sector Conference on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend [DD] in Nigeria.
The Conference will bring together a group of business executives, corporate managers, technical experts, government officials, program implementers and global advocacy community to develop strategies and programs that will accelerate the impact of interventions focused on harnessing the demographic dividend.
In an interactive and impactful-laden atmosphere, the conference seeks to take a holistic look at the challenges and opportunities in implementing the Nigeria Road Map through private sectors investments in young people, hence, calling on all private sector key players to play the lead on several deliverables of the DD roadmap.
The conference will hold at Four Points by Sheraton, Victoria Island, Lagos State, Nigeria.
It is apt to note that, the recent World Population Prospects predict that by 2050, Nigeria will become the 3rd most populated country in the world. At the current annual growth rate of 3.2%, it is projected that Nigeria’s population will double by the year 2030.
Currently, the bulk of the country’s population is young, and the country is characterised by high dependency ratios and unemployment rates. Accelerated changes in this age structure, and decline in the dependency ratio could result in potential economic growth and human development called the demographic dividend, which would result in increased labour incomes and savings.
Speaking on what to look out for at the conference, the Project Director, HACEY Health Initiative, Owolabi Isaiah, noted that “the conference seeks to increase the understanding of and discussions around the ‘Demographic Dividend’ and its potential impact on Nigeria’s development, among private sector organizations.
“Moreso, it seeks to create a Business Coalition on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend in Nigeria and foster a call to action by the private sector to promote investment in harnessing the demographic dividend”.
In the same vein, the UNFPA Country Representative in Nigeria Dr Diene Keita reiterated the need for the private sector to join in the efforts of the Government, the UN and Development Partners to harnessing demographic dividend in Nigeria by investing in health, education and employment of young people especially young girls, as this is not only necessary for the realization of the SDGs but will result in greater profit for entrepreneurs in the country.
The Chairman of the National Population Commission, Eze Duruiheoma also added said that young people are not just the pillars of the future, we can become economic superpowers today and always if partners across different sector work together to invest in the health, education and employment of young people in Nigeria.
The Conference will mobilize private sector resources and competence in driving accountability and supporting government efforts to harness the demographic dividend in Nigeria.
Issues for discussion at the conference will include: aligning demographic dividend agenda with the national development plans strategies; advancing strategic partnerships and key stakeholders buy-in on harnessing demographic dividend in Nigeria; capacity building for understanding the nature, magnitude, and the benefits of demographic dividend and sharing results from the most impactful programmes, promising new approaches and innovative partnerships in harnessing demographic dividend through investments in youth.
New ways of engaging the private sector to empower young people to reach their full potential which are essential to improving quality of livelihood will be reinforced at the conference, even as the private sector can offer valuable expertise on many fronts.