Context

RISING INTEREST ACROSS SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
By changing the age structure of a population, countries can begin the process of accelerating their economic growth.

Activities

TOOLS FOR POLICY COMMUNICATION
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TOPIC LEADER

Over the last five years under IDEA, PRB has been a leader in communicating the potential of a demographic dividend. We created the defining set of materials explaining how investments in family planning—combined with investments in health, gender equality, education, and the labor force—can foster economic growth and transform development. Project activities translated the evidence into clear messages and concepts, reaching audiences from civil society leaders to heads of state.

MULTIMEDIA

The multimedia ENGAGE presentation, "Harnessing the Demographic Dividend," has opened nearly every high-level dialogue in sub-Saharan Africa on the demographic dividend over the last four years. PRB also created a series of short video presentations and an online interactive infographic to convey the material.

POLICY BRIEFS

IDEA policy briefs, such as “The Challenge of Attaining the Demographic Dividend,” provide more details and clarify how to achieve a dividend. Two series of briefs about the demographic dividend were commissioned for the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. And PRB has written specific country briefs on the demographic dividend with partners in Kenya, Malawi, and other countries.

STAFF SUPPORT

IDEA staff have become leading authorities through participation in policy dialogue, technical meetings, development of materials, and technical assistance with developing-country partners. Increasingly, IDEA is asked to foster continued collaboration in the development community about how to understand, explain, and harness the demographic dividend as a paradigm for sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa.

© 2014 by Jonathan Torgovnik/Reportage by Getty Images, courtesy of the Hewlett Foundation

Results

LEADING THE INTERNATIONAL DISCUSSION
“PRB’s materials on the demographic dividend have been great. You make it technically sound and at the same time, accessible to the nonexpert.”
— Duff Gillespie, Ph.D.Professor, The Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
PRB’s video, "Give and Take Across Generations: How Changing Age Structure Can Lead to Economic Growth," explains the demographic dividend through step-by-step graphics and related footage.

Takeaways

LOOKING BACK & MOVING FORWARD
  • Concise, nontechnical information empowers leaders and decisionmakers with a better understanding of the demographic dividend and the investments required to achieve sustained social and economic growth.
  • Using a variety of materials and tools for policy communication makes it easier to reach a broad range of audiences. Disseminating these materials—from multimedia presentations to policy briefs—at different events and online further expands the reach of policy messages.
  • Multimedia presentations can increase and influence dialogue about the demographic dividend at high-level events by delivering concise and compelling messages.
  • As a result, there is increasing enthusiasm about the prospect of benefitting from a demographic dividend, especially among African leaders of countries with large, young populations. It is critical for advocates and leaders to be equipped with accurate data and tools to understand how to achieve and benefit from a demographic dividend, as well as how to effectively communicate this information to decisionmakers.
“I think it was an excellent use of PRB's expertise and connections to various audiences to address the misunderstandings that have somehow circulated among the policy community about what created the dividend, and under what circumstances its positive effects can be realized.”
— Richard CincottaWilson Center Global Fellow Demographer in Residence, The Stimson Center
© Peter Treanor/Alamy