Nigerian colleagues with laptop talking in garden

Beyond the Headlines: As China and India Age, Young Africa Has Potential to Power Global Workforce

In this webinar, we examine data on the growth of sub-Saharan Africa’s working-age population and discuss its potential to power the global workforce.


Barbara Seligman, Senior Vice President of International Programs

Aïssata Fall, Africa Director


Marlene Lee, Associate Vice President of International Programs


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As China and India Age, Young Africa Has the Potential to Power the Global Workforce

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Speaker, Marlene Lee (PRB): Thank you, everyone, for joining us today for this public briefing. Beyond the Headlines, As China and India Age, Young Africa Has the Potential to Power the Global Workforce. I am Marlene Lee, Associate Vice President at the Population Reference Bureau and the webinar moderator today. Before our main event, let me give you a brief orientation to the webinar controls for presentations. All microphones but the speakers’ are muted. You will see on the bottom of your screen “Q&A.” You may click and enter questions about the webinar at any time. Please include your affiliation with your question. I will be monitoring the space. If you do not see “Q&A,” look for three dots and click on those, then the Q&A should appear.

For technical difficulties, please raise your hand electronically and Walker Irving will reach out to you to help resolve the issue. Any issues? Okay.

Diving right in again, welcome and thank you for joining us today at this public briefing. Beyond the Headlines, As China and India Age, Young Africa Has the Potential to Power the Global Workforce. Again, for those of you who just joined, I’m Marlene Lee, your moderator.

Let me briefly introduce our speakers and an outline of today’s session before our presentation begins. Our speakers today are Barbara Seligman. Barbara is Senior Vice President responsible for leading International Programs at PRB. She has advised development partners and governments in low- and middle-income countries on developing population and reproductive health policies for more than 30 years. Aïssata Fall is Africa Director and West and Central Africa Representative at PRB. She’s based in Dakar, Senegal. Aïssata has worked on policy dialogue in social protection, access to basic social services, and decentralization for international development agencies and African governments for more than 30 years.

For those of you not familiar with PRB, or Population Reference Bureau, we are a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of population data to inform and advance solutions to the most urgent challenges facing our world. We analyze and disseminate information so that it can be used to inform decisions that improve lives. As part of our work, we train researchers, journalists, advocates, and others around the world to use information in support of decision-making.

Now, without delay, we will move to our main event. Barbara Seligman will speak on projected changes in the global working age population over the next 30 years, focusing on China, India, and sub-Saharan Africa. Then Aïssata Fall will speak on measures African governments are taking to prepare for a demographic dividend. A moderated question and answer session will follow, and I thank you all for putting all this wonderful information about yourselves in the chat. Barbara, welcome.


Speaker, Barbara Seligman (PRB): Thank you very much, Marlene, and welcome to all of you. I’m really looking forward to our conversation today. I know that many of you are enthusiasts about population matters, and the last couple of months have been really exciting times because so much attention has focused on population issues, notably the fact that India has surpassed China as the most populous country in the world. One of the things that we’re going to focus on today are some of the notable demographic changes that are projected to occur over the next 30 years that are more overlooked, that are not talked about so much. And we appear to have had the good fortune to speak to a number of reporters who’ve been covering the India population story and to help them see some of these other changes. And we look forward to hearing from you and the discussion about some of your observations about all of this press coverage, about the changing composition of the global working-age population.

So, to start, while India is following China’s path to become the most populous country in the world, it’s also following China’s path to become an aged society. By the mid, er,, mid-2050s, India’s population 65 and older will double from its current level of 7% to 14%. It will take 26 years to experience that doubling. China, which just crossed that threshold, the 14% threshold, took 23 years to make that transition. So, India is falling behind China’s path to become an aged society and is doing so a little bit more gradually and with a lag of about 25 years.

Sub-Saharan African countries are already driving growth of the global working-age population, that is, the population between the ages of 15 and 64. While no single African country, of course, can match India in terms of its contribution to the growth of the global working-age population, those 50 or so countries together already account for a greater share of the growth in the global working-age population today than India. And as India and China’s contributions to the growth of the global working-age population decline, sub-Saharan Africa will continue to rise. And when we look at the picture at mid-century, we really see the dominance of sub-Saharan Africa in terms of its contribution to this productive age cohort. And last but not least, we find that it’s very important to look closely at young Africans when we talk about the future working-age population, the characteristics of those entrants to the working-age population, those who are 15 to 19 years old, are can be strikingly different from the characteristics of young Africans entering the working-age population as recently as 20 years ago and certainly compared to 30 or even 40 years ago.

So, let’s take a look at the aggregate numbers. And here what we’re showing is the total global working-age population, [ages] 15 to 64 from 1970 projected through 2050. And we’re looking at India, China, and the region of sub-Saharan Africa. Again, those 50 or so countries. We include the United States here for comparison and because a number of members of our audience are in the U.S., and it helps to show that the U.S. is sort of small fry when we’re talking about these numbers.

So, here in 2023, China continues to have to account for more members of the working-age population at this moment in time. Back in 2015, China crossed the threshold where its working-age population numbered 1 billion. India is going to cross that same threshold sometime later this decade, so between 2025 and 2030. Sub-Saharan Africa is going to cross that threshold another 15 years or so from now. So, between 2035 and 2040, by the time we get to the end of this decade, India will have a larger working-age population than China. By the time we get to mid-century, sub-Saharan Africa’s working-age population will be larger than India’s. These are the aggregate, the total numbers, but they help to set the stage.

Now let’s take a look at where the growth in the global working-age population is coming from. And again, here we have the same three countries plus the region of sub-Saharan Africa for comparison. So, if we look at China, China’s at the beginning of this century, it’s hard to believe. At the beginning of this century, China was, if not the largest one of, nearly the largest contributor to the growth of the global working-age population. But its contribution began to decline in the early 2000s. Now with India: India’s contribution to the growth of the global working-age population, it has has just peaked. And by the time we get to mid-century, India’s contribution to that growth is going to come to close to zero. And as I said, when we look at sub-Saharan Africa in 2023, we see that, collectively, those countries are already contributing a greater share of the growth in the global working-age population than India.

But the real story is what happens as we move out towards the mid-century mark. And in fact, by the time we get to 2050, if I were to write the headline for this slide, it would say today in 2050, Nigeria accounts for a quarter of the growth in the global working-age population. So, over a relatively short period of time, we’re going to see some pretty tremendous changes that maybe are not so appreciated as so much attention focuses on what’s happening between India and China. So, behind the growth of the working-age population, we have fertility that’s really what the driver is of this growth.

So, let’s take a few minutes to look closely at what’s happening with fertility, um, in India, China, and in sub-Saharan Africa. So, we see in China, fertility decline began in the in the [19]70s. It was accelerated. The steep drop in fertility was accelerated by the one-child policy. And really since 1990, fertility has been at replacement or below replacement levels. Now replacement fertility—2.1 children per woman—represents the fertility rate that will kind of keep a population stable.

Now, when we look at India, we see that fertility has declined much more gradually, according to the 2019-2021 Demographic and Health Survey. Fertility in India is 2.0, so just below replacement level. And that’s quite an accomplishment. India is a very diverse country with great diversity across its different states. One of the things that’s very interesting to observe is that the states that historically have had higher fertility have in recent years seen that fertility decline. Even the state of Bihar, India’s most populous, has a total fertility rate of 3. It’s higher, relatively higher. Fertility is offset by the fact that so many states in India have low replacement fertility rates or are quite close to replacement. We therefore are confident that as we move towards mid-century, India’s fertility rate will stabilize at a, at a place a little bit below replacement levels. Um, there’s been a lot of news coverage. Many of you are aware of efforts by China and other countries to try to encourage women to have children. And we don’t think that those efforts are really going to have much of an impact on these macro-level projections of fertility in China or, for that matter, in India.

Now, looking at sub-Saharan Africa, we’re seeing we project a steady fertility decline. But even by the time we get to 2050, we think that the fertility rate will still be above replacement, which means that the working-age population in sub-Saharan Africa will continue to grow as we move into the second half of the century. So, fertility rate is directly tied to the size of the working-age entrant population, those 15-to-19-year-olds. So, even as fertility declines, we have a bit of a lag before we start to see the decline in the age of that 15-to-19-year-old cohort. And you see that here in China. Where the decline in the 15-to-19-year-old population began around 2005, despite fertility reaching replacement levels earlier in India. We see that decline in the 15-to-19-year-old population cohort beginning around 2020, 2023, right around now. And in sub-Saharan Africa, we don’t see that decline because, as I said, our projections through mid-century show that fertility continues to stay above replacement level. So, what you see with the projected growth of the population cohort, those entrants, 15 to 19 years old, 19 years old, is they continue to grow significantly. And the sum of the extra growth that you’re seeing here is that even though fertility is trending downwards, we have, at least for the course of a generation, more and more women who are having children than ever before. So, it takes a little bit of time for the fertility, um, for those momentum effects to be captured.

So, let’s take a look at trends in the number of working-age entrants over this projection period. I think this is a really striking graph that I think maybe not so many people are aware of. Indeed, by the time we get to 2050, when we look at those new entrants into the workforce, we’re going to see India contributing what, some number that’s about, uh, 110 million, with sub-Saharan Africa producing or accounting for not quite twice that number. It’s a staggering difference and will have really important implications for the global working-age population.

Up until now, I have talked about sub-Saharan Africa as a region consisting of approximately 50 countries. I want to briefly look at the three African countries that are driving the growth in sub-Saharan Africa’s population. Those are the three most populous ones: Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (or the DRC), and Ethiopia. And as you see here, I think the principal takeaway is that at the beginning of this century, in 2000, Nigerians, Congolese, and Ethiopians accounted for a pretty small share of the working-age population. By the time we get to 2050—and in this case, we’re projecting out until 2065—it’s a very, very different story. Now, of course, other countries in sub-Saharan Africa together account for the difference that’s shown in gray [on the slide], but none of those other countries individually contributes as much as these three.

So, now let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of working-age populations from these countries that have been driving the growth of the global working-age population since the beginning of the of the 21st century. If we look at female literacy, it’s sort of a crude indicator of women’s status. We see that today, female literacy in China is virtually universal, and female literacy rates have been high for a long time. China really stands apart from the other countries in that regard. There’s some really good news here that, personally, was somewhat surprising to me was to just see how much progress the Democratic Republic of Congo has made in improving its female literacy rates to the point where they’re substantially higher than female literacy for in India.

And in India there’s been much coverage of the fact that the status of women in many Indian states lags significantly, and that has the potential to really mean that the sort of, the economic gains that are propelled through the demographic transition are not necessarily going to look like they did for China. And then we look at Nigeria and Ethiopia, which, you know, perform on this indicator more poorly than India. Remember here we are looking at ages 15 and over. That will be important when we come to our next slide.

If we take a look at an economic measure, and here we choose to look at gross national income per capita, again, China is in a category by itself, far wealthier than any of the other countries that we’re looking at. India and Nigeria are wealthier than the other two countries. I think it’s worth mentioning that the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the world’s poorer countries. So, the composition of the working-age population, the countries from which the working-age population are coming—that will dominate the size of the, or the growth of the working-age population at mid-century—their characteristics are going to look different than they did at the beginning of this century and certainly before then.

Many of you who are in this audience are academics or students of population. And you know better than I how important it is to look beyond averages. And that averages can mask important trends, and they can mask real stories. And here again, we want to implore you to look at young Africans and to take a look at some of the changes that are happening in human capital formation, that is, in education, health, job experience among these young cohorts of Africans who are entering the working-age population today and in the foreseeable future. When we look at female literacy rates, yeah, Ethiopia didn’t look so good when we looked at the average for women [ages] 15 and over. But my goodness, look at the progress that’s taken place in female literacy in Ethiopia over the course of the last 20 years. Similar gains in DRC, also more modest gains in Nigeria.

But what we’re seeing are, we’re seeing is that the young Africans today really look different than they did even a generation ago in terms of their human capital. We see that with life expectancy, too. Ethiopia’s investments in health in particular are maybe known to many of you, and they really are sort of captured in what we see here as life expectancy gains at age 15. The story with Nigeria, you know, somebody’s going to ask a question about it. We’re still trying to figure out and have asked some people to see if they can help us understand what’s going on there.

And then finally, adolescent fertility, which signifies trends in early marriage investments or girls’ secondary school attendance and sort of speaks for a number of different indicators. And again, over the course of the last 30 years, staggering improvement in Ethiopia, really staggering drop in teen fertility rates, adolescent fertility rates, important declines in DRC and in Nigeria as well.

So, as we look ahead to the future of the global working-age labor force, let me just recap some of the things that we’ve talked about. The demographic dominance of the global working-age population has changed over time. Indeed, it’s changed over the century from China to India and soon to the sub-Saharan Africa region. As the United States, Europe, and other high-income countries age, they will need to look beyond their own populations to meet their economic and social needs, among which includes caring for ever-growing populations of older adults. Countries with young populations and relatively high fertility, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, such as the three that we’ve mentioned, could contribute to meeting demand for labor and other social and economic needs.

And on that note, I will turn the mic over to my colleague, the esteemed Aïssata Fall, PRB’s Director for Africa, who will be talking about some of the measures that African governments are putting in place to prepare for sub-Saharan Africa’s dominance in the global labor force. So over to you, Aïssata.


Speaker, Aïssata Fall (PRB): Thank you, Barbara. And sorry for the camera, but I’m on the phone. Um, so. We saw today that if we look at sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, its demographic dynamic is dominated by Ethiopia, DRC, and Nigeria. However, to understand how African leaders are prioritizing investments in the future working-age population, it is critical to think about these needs within their respective geographical, economic, and political contexts. These three countries are part of the African Union, which is composed of 55 member states, um, of Africa. Its primary role is to promote unity, integration, and cooperation among African countries to advance the continent’s socioeconomic development, peace, and security.

Then, the African Union is made up of five regions, as you can see, north, west, central, east, and south. And there is a sixth region, an interesting one, the diaspora, which is defined by African Union as people of African origin living outside the continent, irrespective of their citizenship and nationality, which is an important aspect.

Regional and continental integration is crucial in the African Union’s agenda because it fosters unity and solidarity among African nations so they can collectively address common challenges and pursue shared goals, integrations, and aims to strengthen Africa’s position in the global arena, allowing it to negotiate and engage on equal footing with other regions of the world.

Alongside these six regions, Africa’s regional economic communities, known as the RECs, such as the Economic Community of West African states, known as ECOWAS, are a vital component of the continent’s integration efforts. They are building blocks of the African Union and facilitate economic integration between members of the region and through the wider African economic community.

Each of Africa’s regions has its own dynamics, especially when it comes to demographics. For example, a citizen from one of the West Africa region’s 15 countries, like Nigeria, can travel to another country within the region with a simple ID card thanks to ECOWAS, the regional economic community. And despite being in a region dominated by the French language, Nigerian people travel a lot within the region to find a job. In another example, a Senegalese citizen can be hired as a staff in the government of Benin’s administration. Such free movement of people do not exist in the Central Africa region, which includes the DRC. While the Central Africa region also has an economic community, people there need a visa, therefore a passport, to travel between countries.

And so, the difference of the cost of a passport compared to a simple ID here shapes access to educational opportunities and also to labor markets, and especially for young people. Then, as we reflect about the working age, working-age population and the drivers for a successful workforce in the future, we must think beyond countries borders.

In Africa, the future of the workforce is embedded in a continental way of thinking and is framed by countries commitment, and also implemented with consideration for different regional and country contexts. Slide, please.

In 2013—you should click, Barbara. In 2013, all 15 member states of the African Union adopted the Agenda 2063, named the Africa We Want. This is a strategic framework for the socioeconomic transformation of the African continent by the year 2063. It outlines key goals and aspirations for Africa’s development. And I want to mention here the first two aspirations related to our topic today.

So, the first one is for a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development that aims to achieve high levels of economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development across the continent, ensuring that the benefits are shared by all African people. One way is the African Union is aiming to accomplish this goal is through the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is intended to create a single market for goods and services across the continent. It has a potential to bring substantial benefits to small-scale businesses and to women and ultimately to spur job creation across various sectors.

The second aspiration of Agenda 2063 is for an integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism, which seeks to achieve a politically united Africa to promote peace, stability, and good governance, and also to strengthen continental integration. Here the African Passport Initiative is intended to facilitate the free movement of people across the continent by introducing a common passport for African citizens. Several countries like Benin, Senegal, Rwanda, and Madagascar are already offering visa-free access or visa on arrival for African people. This freedom of movement can really unlock new opportunities for the transfer of skills, for knowledge, and also labor, while supporting economic growth and development.

Then we see that the African Union Agenda 2063 sets out the long-term vision and aspiration for Africa’s development across various sectors and provide a comprehensive framework for Africa’s overall transformation and progress. It recognizes the youth population and gender equality as key drivers of Africa’s future development. And since 2013, during the last decade, the African Union and its member states have been setting the path with new strategies, plans, and tools to achieve the Agenda’s goals. And the African Union Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend is one of these strategies.

This was signed by all state members in 2017, and it specifically focuses on strategies and action to leverage the potential of Africa’s youth population for economic growth and development. The Roadmap provides a targeted and specific plan to address challenges and opportunities associated with the demographic dividend, with a particular emphasis on youth-focused policies and investment. Then, given the significant share of the young people thinking about the working age population in sub-Saharan Africa means thinking about the demographic dividend, which refers to the accelerated economic growth that can result when more of the country’s population is of working age and employed in well-paying jobs than is too young or too old to work. The African Union’s demographic dividend roadmap focuses on several key areas, including, among other things, education and skills development, and employment and entrepreneurship, and gender equality and empowerment, regional integration, and free movement of people.

Aims of both the Roadmap and the Agenda 2063 would remove barriers and create an enabling environment for youth to travel across borders, to access educational opportunities, employment, and entrepreneurship as they can, access larger markets, and expand their businesses beyond national boundaries. Through the Roadmap, support for small- and medium-sized enterprises and steps to ease access to finances and markets, it can also foster an environment that enables young people to start and grow businesses, thereby creating employment opportunities.

And when it comes to gender, the demographic dividend roadmap acknowledges that equality—gender equality—is not only a matter of social justice, but it is also an essential driver of economic development. The Roadmap aims to ensure that women have equal access to education, economic opportunities, and leadership roles, and with this, its emphasis on girls education. This Roadmap acknowledges that educated girls are more likely to become economically productive adults then.

Both Agenda 2063 and the demographic dividend roadmap work together to guide African countries and decisionmakers in implementing gender-sensitive and youth-centric policies and programs that help achieve sustainable economic growth and maximize the demographic dividend.

To implement the African Union’s Roadmap and realize the structural transformation needed to obtain a demographic dividend, countries must apply appropriate policies, frameworks, and funding, as well as measure and monitor their progress. Different methods and tools have been developed to help inform policy decisions based on a deep understanding of their potential opportunities and challenges, while also considering youth and gender equality aspects, especially to understand their country’s population structure regarding demographic economics, define their current potential for economic transformation, and also use evidence on effective budget allocations as a main instrument for economic based decision.

Achieving this Agenda 2063’s ambitious goals and implementing the demographic dividend roadmap requires changing our mindset. It requires considering the different drivers of success for a strong and productive working-age population within the context of their interrelationships. And, for example, to do so, some monitoring tools that systematically integrate youth and gender aspects are being institutionally institutionalized—sorry for my English—to monitor five critical dimensions using standard indicators agreed by experts at country and continental levels regarding economic dependency, quality of life, poverty transition, human capital, but also networks and territories.

This process of standards and tools used by all countries is a significant step forward because the indicators are defined collectively and enable more appropriate policies to be adopted. The progress lies in the definition by African countries, by themselves, of the results to be achieved and the pathways to follow, anchoring a new way of evidence-based governance principles for the younger generation. And this new way is critical for sustainable policy change and also supports one of the most important agendas, Agenda 2063, the aspiration of empowering women and youth and showing their active participation in decision-making process and their inclusion in the development agenda.

So, what does all this mean for Africa and for its future working-age population? Actually, it is a combination of good news and challenges that need still to be addressed. Agenda 2063 is a new way of thinking about development in Africa, with its focus on integration, youth involvement, and gender equality as drivers for economic growth. And this approach is a positive development needed to help countries and regions give more comprehensive consideration to their populations.

While gaps still exist, decisionmakers in African countries are putting new focus on data on youth and gender in their economic decision-making. We see this emphasis in both Agenda 2063 and the demographic dividend roadmap, as well as in countries’ policies and commitments, but also in the new kind of tools and methods they are using to analyze the situation and inform their policymaking process.

As we look to the future, we must pay attention to what is happening today. Youth employment is an urgent problem on the continent. It is exacting high economic, social, and political costs now and needs creative solutions. Some of these solutions are through partnerships between African researchers, decisionmakers, and organizations like the Regional Consortium for Research in Generational Economy in Senegal, known as CREG, which helps link scientific research to decision-making.

Organizations like PRB can also help countries develop forecasting, look at how a potential demographic dividend could be amplified through increasing gender and youth analysis and communicate evidence for policy decision-making. Africa today and in the future has a lot to offer, and we will continue to follow the evidence and act in close collaboration with our local partners to support countries achieving their potential. Thank you.

Marlene, I give you the floor now.


Speaker, Marlene Lee: Thank you. Thank you, Barbara and Aïssata, for giving a closer look at the geographic shift in the concentration of the global working-age population and the prominence of sub-Saharan Africa’s young population and the policy context within Africa. Truly, continued local and international commitment to African countries’ actions to prepare their working-age populations and to create an enabling environment for job creation is an investment in shaping a global workforce for the future.

Now I’m going to turn to some wonderful questions from our participants. We have participants from Ghana, India, Philippines, Canada, Ethiopia, Nepal, Slovenia, Nigeria, Washington, DC, and more. And we have research professors, geography, teachers, government staff, longtime followers, journalists, and more. So, I hope you are up to the challenge of these questions.

Barbara, we will start with you. Let me read a couple of related questions for you from Sulayman Willie Baldeh. “Why is the life expectancy for Nigeria the same level? I would have expected it to rise. I don’t think this is good if there are improvements on health and development.” From one Wondwosen Teklesilasie, “I think young people’s skills, rather than their numbers, will influence the global economy.” And from Abuja, Abebaw Woldekiros. He wonders what the source of data is. “The life expectancy for Ethiopia was not 54. In 2021, it’s much more than this.” So, if you could answer briefly, I think these are related questions. You are muted, Barbara.


Speaker, Barbara Seligman: Yeah, yeah. Thank you very much for your questions. And again, I’m so flattered that so many of you from so many different corners of the world have joined us this, this morning.

Sulayman, as I mentioned, we too are perplexed by the Nigeria numbers. And I’ve actually put out a request. Unfortunately, I didn’t get an answer in time for this presentation. I want to make clear, though, that we’re looking at life expectancy at age 15. So, life expectancy at birth in Nigeria, of course, is increased importantly because of those big gains in child survival. But we’re still puzzling over why the life expectancy level stays flat over this 30-year period when we look at life expectancy at age 15, and any ideas you might have, sources that you might be able to put us in touch with, to help understand what’s going on there would be most appreciated.

And then, Mr. Teklesilasie, I couldn’t agree with you more. The numbers are a very crude measure. And one of the things that we’ve really tried to be careful about is that in the first part of the presentation, we’re really talking about the size of the global working-age population. And the size of the global working-age population, of course, is not the same as the global workforce. And the point that you make about the skills is part of that translation between numbers and productive engagement in the global workforce. So, thank you for pointing that out.

With respect to life expectancy in in Ethiopia, I am not able to look at that slide right now. But I believe if the source is not listed there, I will make sure to get back to you with that source. And if there’s a, if there’s something that we have misunderstood or there’s something about that source that we should know, that means that we shouldn’t use it. I most recently, most would be very grateful to, have that information and follow that up offline. Over.


Speaker, Marlene Lee: Barbara, I just want to clarify that perhaps there’s a misunderstanding. Our life expectancy numbers that we gave were life expectancy at age 15, not life expectancy at birth.


Speaker, Barbara Seligman: Thank you very much, Marlene. Yes. So we talked about that in the context of Nigeria. But yes, that is true for all of the countries. So, we really wanted to focus on measures of well-being for those who are working, you know, who are entering the workforce, people who are between the ages of 15 to 19, which is why we didn’t use life expectancy at birth. Over.


Speaker, Marlene Lee: Thank you. Aïssata, I’m going to try to read this comment and question slowly. This is from Margaret Walton-Roberts. “If Africa is being demographically positioned to provide labour to the global economy, what does this mean for health systems? Health care workers from Africa are already significant in OECD countries, but the issue of mutual benefits for African-sending countries is not well addressed at the current time. What further policy frameworks are needed from WHO and African regional blocs to safeguard health systems in Africa in light of the increasing role of Africa in health and care labour migration?”


Speaker, Aïssata Fall: Thank you, Marlene, and thank you, Margaret, for this question, which is a great one and a topic we are starting to work on with CREG especially. I would, um, how can I say, that I would frame this question more in the broader issue about care economy and, and what it means globally and for Africa. So, some frameworks are, or some topics are, discussed, especially, for example, around elderly long-term care. And WHO has a lot about that. And what I can tell you is that at country level or at regional levels, the conversation about care, caregivers, the cost of domestic care—which encompass taking care of the family or being able to take care of, um, what is not supported by the government to provide you the minimum of living standards—is quite complex, but not discussed topic in the region.

And one of the first issue is that, as you mentioned, a lot of people are moving and you are talking about health care worker, but you can really broaden this about caregivers for older people, for example, that are working outside Africa. While here, there is no recognition of this need, what is interesting—it could be a long conversation—but what is interesting to consider and I’m happy to talk more about that aside, if you want, as the first thing is, what does care mean in Africa? How is it recognized in the new context and in this demographic context today with an aging population. Yes, we have a young population, but the part of the population is growing, is getting old. And at politic policy level, we have absolutely nothing regarding standards, even considering the needs, because traditionally this is part of the unpaid care work which is today supported by women. And there is a need to really focus this because one, we are we are going to face a big issue on the continent around just care. Is it health care? It is care, just domestic care for elderly.

This is becoming a critical issue, not in 50 years, when in less than 20 years we have no standard. Data exist but are not analyzed, and this is part of the gaps I was mentioning, saying there are still some gaps to have, some complementary analysis to really help to think about our future here and make economic decisions, but also some specific social policies that are considering all these different aspects.

The second part of the issue of who is going to take care and where is going to be the workforce for health care or caregiver, where are they going to be the best employed and use, is about the fact that taking care, addressing this topic, would be a good way to meet the different agendas about decent work. This totally related what you tell about health and care labor migration. The first thing is about having our policymakers better informed about that, which means having analyses, being able to be properly supported, to be done and communicated. I’m very sorry for my not very good English around that. I hope I answered the questions that were quite complex. I’m sorry, Marlene.


Speaker, Marlene Lee: No, no, thank you very much. I think as we look at the questions that some very complex issues are being raised. And from Issa Masarweh, the Secretary General of the Jordan Higher Population Council, there’s a comment that says the huge population size and demographic trends in China and India should concern every country because we all share global environment and prices of basic food items.

Also from Alaka Basu, known to many of us, the DRC levels in female literacy are very high and remarkable and historical policy factors. What historical policy factors account for this? But I believe she had a comment about that. What could be the negative factors in India in the future? From Alana Larrazabal, “What could be the negative factors in India as it transitions to becoming an aged society in 20 years or so?” And from Karoline Schmid, says she takes a more pessimistic view of Africa. Because mortality is declining faster than fertility and the region is experiencing continued population growth. So, how how do you meet the challenge of educating the growing number of youth and the challenge of political instability in many countries in the region? So, I’ve touched the environment, I’ve touched education, I’ve touched aging societies. And I’m going to give both of you, Aïssata and Barbara, an opportunity to pick one of these issues and have a final comment, because we are running out of time. So, Barbara, pick an issue. You’re muted.


Speaker, Barbara Seligman: Thank you so much for your questions and lively engagement. I’ll just pick a couple of the things that were mentioned here. Uh, easy, easy things. First, Alaka—Alaka Basu has been a long time Board member for PRB. If you look at the earlier slide that showed progress in female literacy over the course of the last 20 years, you’ll see that some very substantial gains in female literacy have taken place just quite recently. So, I do want to draw your attention to that. Although the base in 2000 was also pretty high. I think about 63% or so. Again, that’s literacy rates among 15-to-19, 15-to-24-year-olds. So, I think this question about aging is one that’s really, that deserves a lot more attention.

That’s something that we could, we at PRB look forward to exploring both in terms of the question that was addressed earlier about sort of the, you know, we look at the demographics of the working force writ large. What we really want to do more with is looking at the demography of different occupational segments, including home care workers, nurses, and other members of the care economy. Um, and I think that what, you know, I think many planners in India are very worried about making sure that they have the kind of social safety nets in place to, um, you know, to take care of so many elderly.

We look at countries that have gone through very rapid fertility decline, went through the fertility, the demographic transition, quickly. I think about countries like Turkey and Korea, China. Um, the other side of that is rapid aging. And I know from the little that I read about sort of credit ratings and things like that, that insurers and the people who offer credit in the commercial market are paying careful attention to what provisions are in place to care for what will be rapidly aging populations in India and in some other countries. So, I think I’ll stop there and let Aïssata take some of the other questions. I apologize. I didn’t get to all of them.


Speaker, Aïssata Fall: Thank you, Barbara. Thank you, Marlene. Um, I’m going to quickly try to respond to Karoline Schmid’s question about, um, the fact that have a positive view of the chance for a demographic dividend in sub-Saharan Africa and being pessimistic around the current political instability in many countries. Um, well, first thing, I have a positive view about what has been happening in terms of how we are now in Africa—looking at what we need to decide and how we are analyzing the data, demographics, to better consider the two critical key drivers that are youth and gender equality. And I totally agree with you that there is an issue around educating the growing number of youth, providing jobs for the growing workforce, and also political instability, etcetera.

So, I have to be optimistic if I want to do my job, actually, because it would not be easy. I mentioned that discussing the usual analyses, what is being done on education, fertility rates, talking job creation is not sufficient. There is a clear issue around infrastructure and energy that is not sufficiently discussed alongside with social issues, social policies, social policy topics, or human capital topics. The government has to provide the conditions for a conducive environment for the private sector to be able to create jobs. And this needs to be discussed around investments that are not sufficient around energy and infrastructure. That is clear.

Where I am optimistic—it’s not about the demographic dividend. You might be right. Maybe all this should have started earlier. I’m sure, it should have started earlier, but it is now that it is really, this last decade that demonstrated a total mindset shift regarding how policymakers are using different tools to look at their own continent or country differently. And at the same time, what is interesting is that in doing that, there is this gradual, more and more, involvement of youth people. I’m now going to talk about younger, young men, young people, those that are building their future so that they can be part of this decision. If you know Africa, you know that being young in Africa is not that easy. You are a young man until you’re 40, but you’re voting since you’ve been 18.

So, this young participation, equipping young people, this young generation with the tools but also working on bringing them into the policy dialogue spaces. For me, it’s fundamental for them to really root this new governance principles that integrates youth and gender, but also to help them to see that they can be listened to. They can be [listened to] because they are fully fledged citizens. And there are also solutions to that violence. And you talk about instability, and I’m currently in Dakar, and I’m on the phone because of riots and power cuts. So, I totally know what you’re talking about. But when I see all these youth advocates we are working with, helping them to be in the right political space and policy conversation spaces is, for me, a concrete way to help them to become a citizen.

And I just would conclude about what you are, what you are saying for me, and this is a personal opinion, what is missing in this conversation is that the word, the word citizen never appears. When I was talking about mindset shifting? It’s about we are technicians. Let’s talk techniques. Let’s talk electricity, technical, sectoral domain. But let’s not forget that all this is needed to support a real democratic dialogue. And we are talking not about beneficiaries or partners. We are talking about citizens. Actually, this is for me, something that needs to be pushed forward. So, thank you.


Speaker, Marlene Lee: Thank you, Aïssata. You’ve touched up on some of the issues raised in other questions, and we have run out of time for questions, but we will be looking forward to future discussions.

I’ll just mention that Robert Thompson raised the issue that we didn’t look at urban or rural. We didn’t look at rural migration to urban areas and what that means for employment and food product, productivity. And the question of why we’re looking at continental data and comparing it to other countries. So, doing more breakdowns at the national level is definitely something we can think about for the future.

I really am sorry we don’t have a green room session after this where we could just open it up to the audience. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to do that. I want to thank our audience. Please look for our post-briefing email.

We will continue the conversation in coming months to learn more about these demographic trends and related policy in African countries. Please follow Barbara Seligman and Aïssata Fall and PRB on LinkedIn. URLs to their profiles are in the chat and thank you for participating in our webinar.


Récapitulatif de la série de webinaires : Jeunesse, religion et contraception en Afrique francophone


En Afrique francophone, les jeunes âgés de 15 à 24 ans ont difficilement accès aux informations et services de planification familiale (PF) de qualité. De plus, ils affichent un taux d’abandon de la contraception supérieur à celui de leurs aînées et sont particulièrement sensibles aux effets indésirables.  En mars 2022, PRB a tenu une série de quatre webinaires s’inscrivant dans la suite du dialogue initié en 2021 sur l’utilisation durable des contraceptifs chez les jeunes. L’initiative est portée par le projet PACE, financé par l’Agence Américaine pour le Développement (USAID) en collaboration avec le projet Knowledge SUCCESS. La série a réuni différents représentants du Ministère de la Santé, d’organisations de jeunes, de leaders religieux, et de Partenaires Techniques et Financiers (PTF) engagés dans l’amélioration de l’accès à la contraception par les jeunes. L’accès durable des jeunes à la PF a été discuté, sur la base d’une analyse du paysage politique des pays du Partenariat de Ouagadougou (PO), réalisée par le projet PACE. Les outils de communication développés par ce même projet pour renforcer le dialogue sur la PF pour les jeunes informés par des données probantes ont été présentés pour soutenir les échanges.

Résumés des interventions

8 mars 2022 : soutenir le recours à la contraception chez les jeunes dans le contexte des engagements envers FP2030.

Le paysage politique pour l’utilisation durable de la contraception par les jeunes dans les neufs pays du PO a été analysée sur la base de sept recommandations définies dans une note de politique rédigée par PRB en 2021. Ces recommandations visent à assurer que tout jeune accède, sans discrimination, à la méthode contraceptive de son choix quand et où il le souhaite. L’examen des documents politiques et règlementaires de différents pays, notamment les engagements FP2030, les lois relatives à la Santé de la Reproduction (SR) et les Plans d’Action Nationaux Budgétisés de la Planification Familiale (PANB/PF), montre que dans l’ensemble, l’environnement politique des pays demeure peu favorable à l’utilisation durable de la contraception par les jeunes. La plupart des pays reconnaissent les jeunes comme un groupe aux besoins spécifiques, mais l’accessibilité financière, le suivi personnalisé et l’accès à toute la gamme de contraceptifs, particulièrement aux méthodes auto-administrées, sont largement insuffisants. Les panélistes ont débattu des priorités pour leurs pays respectifs.

En Guinée, l’insuffisance des ressources domestiques, le contexte socio-culturel et le manque de services adaptés aux jeunes sont les obstacles à surmonter. La disponibilité de la gamme complète des produits contraceptifs est relevée comme essentielle, problématique actuellement traitée par un engagement dans l’élargissement de l’offre de produits dans les infirmeries scolaires, le secteur privé et les garnisons militaires. Cette dynamique s’appuie également sur la collaboration avec les organisations de la société civile, les PTF et la participation active des jeunes.

Au Sénégal, la prise en compte de la diversité des besoins des jeunes est identifiée comme prioritaire, considérant leur hétérogénéité en termes d’âge, de statut marital et de milieu de vie.  Les organisations de jeunes saisiront l’opportunité du nouveau PANB/PF pour améliorer l’accès à la contraception pour les jeunes non mariés – ignorés dans les documents actuels. Enfin, la RDC (pays extérieur au PO) met la priorité sur la facilité d’accès à la contraception dans le secteur privé. Des organisations de jeunes y ont mené un plaidoyer informé par des données pour la reconnaissance des besoins spécifiques des jeunes, et obtenu la signature par le gouvernement provincial, d’un arrêté soutenant un plan quinquennal pour l’accès des jeunes à la contraception, intégrant leur diversité.

14 et 24 mars 2022 : renforcer les partenariats avec les leaders de la jeunesse et les chefs religieux afin d’améliorer l’accès des jeunes à la planification familiale grâce à des dialogues communautaires éclairés.

Le rôle des leaders religieux pour démystifier les tabous autour de la PF pour les jeunes et renforcer un dialogue informé par des données est largement démontré. Des vidéos produites par le projet PACE en collaboration avec des leaders religieux et des jeunes du Sahel ont illustré l’engagement des diverses confessions religieuses dans la promotion de l’utilisation de la contraception par les jeunes afin d’assurer le bien-être de la mère et de l’enfant. Et si leurs messages s’inscrivent dans le contexte du mariage quel que soit le pays, l’accès à la contraception pour tous les jeunes, y compris ceux non-mariés, est pris en compte dans les politiques de pays laïcs comme le Mali ou la RCA. Au Mali, des campagnes annuelles offrent les services de PF à toutes les utilisatrices sans restriction, en cohérence avec les principes de non-discrimination, particulièrement pour les jeunes, avec l’appui des PTF.

Tous les panélistes reconnaissent l’importance d’informer la communication sur la PF avec des données probantes – telles que celles des enquêtes nationales Enquête Démographique et Santé (EDS) et Enquête en grappes à multiples indicateurs (MICS) – mais constatent qu’elles restent insuffisantes pour alimenter les dialogues et le plaidoyer. Les données existantes, souvent quantitatives et informant sur un temps donné, ne permettent pas de comprendre la dynamique de l’utilisation de la contraception par les jeunes. Des analyses secondaires des données nationales peuvent aider à expliquer l’abandon de la contraception et à comprendre l’impact des effets secondaires afin d’améliorer les messages tant pour les décideurs politiques que pour la communauté. Elles sont également importantes pour démontrer, par exemple, le rôle la PF pour la réduction de la mortalité maternelle et néonatale et des grossesses précoces. La nécessité d’un cadre de gouvernance et de coordination des données produites par les EÉtats et les PTF a été également soulignée. Les PTF sont encouragés à publier sur leurs sites les données qu’ils produisent pour un meilleur suivi des engagements dans le cadre du PO et de FP2030.

29 mars 2022 : renforcer la position des dirigeants communautaires en tant qu’alliés en faveur d’une utilisation continue des méthodes contraceptives chez les jeunes.

La recommandation politique sur la reconnaissance des besoins propres aux jeunes et celle sur la disponibilité d’une gamme complète de contraceptifs ont été spécifiquement discutées. Les panélistes (Ministère de la santé, organisation des jeunes et PTF) ont relevé les progrès réalisés, tels que l’approbation du programme d’éducation aux valeurs et à la santé sexuelle au Togo, la promotion par les autorités de RDC d’espaces conviviaux “jeunes” dans les structures de santé et la communauté, ou encore que les lois SR de leurs pays (Mali, RDC, Sénégal et Togo) intègrent l’utilisation de la contraception par les jeunes.  Cependant, ce cadre légal reste insuffisant ou fait face aux pesanteurs socio-culturelles. En RDC, la loi restreint le choix des méthodes contraceptives accessibles sans l’autorisation des parents pour les 15-17 ans, et interdit l’accès sans consentement parental aux moins de 15 ans. Au Mali ou au Togo, la faible compétence des prestataires de santé en counseling adapté aux jeunes, les préjugés, leur fréquentation des centres de santé et l’influence de leaders religieux conservateurs représentent des obstacles majeurs. Malgré l’engagement croissant de la société civile et des chefs religieux, les barrières socio-culturelles demeurent. Le constat est unanime quant à l’absence d’améliorations notables pour l’accès des jeunes à la contraception et sur la nécessité impérative de renforcer leur reconnaissance et leur implication comme acteurs à part entière des processus de formulation des politiques et programmes.


Le paysage politique des pays du PO demeure peu favorable à l’utilisation durable de la contraception par les jeunes. Malgré des progrès en termes d’engagements forts et d’adoption de textes règlementaires, les jeunes font face à plusieurs défis pour accéder durablement à une méthode contraceptive moderne quand et où ils le souhaitent. Les restrictions fondées sur l’âge, le coût, les préjugés des prestataires sont autant d’obstacles qui doivent disparaître. Face à cette situation récurrente, la participation des jeunes n’est pas optionnelle. Ils représentent la majeure partie de la population et doivent être pleinement impliqués dans la formulation des politiques qui les concernent et qui construisent leur futur. Ils doivent disposer du savoir nécessaire pour être entendus et assurer la prise en compte effective de leurs besoins spécifiques. Acteurs à part entière de la communauté, ils sont les alliés des gouvernements. Dans des sociétés fondamentalement guidées par la foi, les chefs religieux sont une force pour renforcer le dialogue et démystifier les fausses croyances. Leur collaboration avec les jeunes pour provoquer des changements positifs dans la communauté doit alors être soutenue pour amplifier une communication pertinente basée sur des données probantes, utilisant des messages adaptés et partagés par tous.

Ressources clés

Les ressources suivantes du projet PACE ont été partagées au cours de la série de webinaires :

  • Note de politique – Meilleures pratiques pour l’utilisation durable des contraceptifs chez les jeunes : cette note de politique décrit les modèles d’abandon de la contraception chez les jeunes et résume les preuves sur les facteurs d’abandon, à savoir les préoccupations liées à la méthode et la qualité des soins. Il présente une nouvelle analyse des principaux éléments d’insatisfaction à l’égard des services de PF chez les jeunes qui peuvent contribuer à l’arrêt de la contraception. Elle décrit les stratégies politiques et programmatiques qui peuvent améliorer la continuation contraceptive chez les jeunes femmes qui souhaitent prévenir, retarder ou espacer les grossesses.
  • Une présentation ENGAGE – Renforcer la confiance des communautés et le dialogue avec elles sur la foi, les mutilations génitales féminines et la planification familiale (Mauritanie) : PRB a collaboré avec l’Association des Gestionnaires pour le Développement (AGD) et le Cadre des Religieux pour la Santé et le Développement (CRSD) pour réunir un groupe multidisciplinaire engagé pour l’espacement des naissances chez les couples mariés et l’abandon de la pratique des mutilations génitales féminines et l’excision en Mauritanie. Ce groupe multidisciplinaire est constitué par des représentants du Ministère de la santé, les leaders religieux, les jeunes et les PTF. Il a validé le développement et la production d’une vidéo destinée aux leaders religieux et aux jeunes de la Mauritanie et du Sahel. Le but de la vidéo est de catalyser le dialogue régional et national sur les intersections positives entre la religion islamique et les besoins de santé reproductive et du bien-être des femmes et des jeunes de la Mauritanie. Elle montre les formes de collaboration possibles entre les leaders religieux et les jeunes afin de créer un environnement favorable aux politiques et programmes de santé reproductive des jeunes.
  • Une présentation ENGAGE – Rien N’est Tabou ! (Région du Sahel) :la présentation ENGAGE montre comment les communautés religieuses et les jeunes dans le Sahel peuvent œuvrer ensemble à faire avancer l’avenir de la région en promouvant un dialogue franc et ouvert et en encourageant en priorité la tolérance sociale. Elle souligne comment les leaders religieux peuvent se servir de leur influence de manière positive pour condamner les pratiques de mariage d’enfants et de mutilations génitales féminines. La présentation renforce également le message selon lequel les leaders religieux de la région sont disposés à encourager l’usage de la planification familiale chez les jeunes couples mariés et à soutenir les programmes d’éducation à la vie familiale.
  • Une présentation ENGAGE – Le Sénégal s’Engage : la Religion et la Santé familiale : Il s’agit d’un outil de plaidoyer pour relier les questions de santé reproductive et de planification familiale aux attitudes et croyances confessionnelles. S’appuyant sur des chefs communautaires et religieux, la présentation relie les impacts de la planification familiale et de l’espacement des naissances à des résultats positifs pour les soins, la nutrition et l’éducation des enfants ainsi que pour les ressources naturelles. La présentation illustre comment la planification familiale améliore la santé des mères et des enfants et contribue au bien-être des familles sénégalaises. En décomposant des concepts complexes et en utilisant un langage non technique, la présentation montre comment les chefs religieux du Sénégal peuvent guider les familles afin qu’elles puissent mener une vie spirituelle, heureuse et saine.
  • Analyse du paysage politique – Rapide analyse de l’environnement politique de l’utilisation durable de la contraception chez les jeunes : Le document d’analyse de paysage politique présente l’état de la mise en œuvre des sept recommandations de la note de politique dans les neuf pays du PO. Chaque recommandation est déclinée en critères auxquels des indicateurs sont attribués. La revue des documents politiques et de programmes a permis d’attribuer à chaque indicateur une notation. La méthode d’analyse des indicateurs a tenu essentiellement compte de l’accessibilité immédiate ou pas d’une jeune de 15-24 ans dans le besoin des services de PF. La notation retenue pour chaque indicateur est donc : Oui ou Non. L’objectif du document est de mettre à la disposition des acteurs de plaidoyers des informations et des données issues des documents nationaux pour alimenter leurs messages et leurs dialogues avec les décideurs politiques.

Webinaire 1 : soutenir le recours à la contraception chez les jeunes dans le contexte des engagements envers FP2030

Modératrice : Madame Aissata Fall, Représentante Régionale pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre – PRB

Panélistes :

  1. Madame Fatou Diop, membre fondatrice du Cadre Consultatif des organisations de la société civile jeune du Sénégal et point focal jeunes du Sénégal de FP2030
  2. Dr Simon Mambo, co-fondateur/directeur exécutif, Alliance des Jeunes pour la Santé de la reproduction (YARH), RDC
  3. Dr Siré Camara, Cheffe de Division PF à la Direction Nationale de la santé familiale et de la nutrition (DNSFN) au Ministère de la Santé et de l’Hygiène Publique, Guinée

Webinaire 2 : renforcer les partenariats avec les leaders de la jeunesse et les chefs religieux afin d’améliorer l’accès des jeunes à la planification familiale

Modératrice : Madame Célia d’Almeida, Consultante en communication – Directrice ODEKA Médias & Formations

Panélistes :

  1. Monsieur Aly Kébé, membre du réseau des jeunes ambassadeurs SR/PF en Mauritanie
  2. Imam Abdallah Sarr, Secrétaire Générale de l’Association Mains de la fraternité en Mauritanie
  3. Dr Ben Moulaye Idriss, Directeur Général de l’Office National de la Santé de la Reproduction (ONASR), Mali
  4. Dr Konan Jules Yao, Représentant Adjoint, UNFPA RCA

Webinaire 3 : promouvoir les programmes politiques grâce à des dialogues communautaires éclairés

Modératrice : Madame Célia d’Almeida, Consultante en communication – Directrice ODEKA Médias & Formations

Panélistes :

  1. Madame Hayathe Ayeva, Jeune leaders, Ambassadrice SR/PF, Togo
  2. Madame Marlène Quenum, Présidente de l’ONG Allô Bénin, Chargée de l’organisation de la coalition des organisations de la société civile du Bénin
  3. Cheikh Elh Oumarou Mahaman Bachir, Président de l’Alliance des Religieux de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, Niger
  4. Monsieur Aliou Diop, Président de l’Association des Gestionnaires pour le Développement, point focal PF2030 pour la société civile, Mauritanie
  5. Dr Koudaogo Ouédraogo, Représentant Résident, UNFPA RCA

Webinaire 4 : renforcer la position des dirigeants communautaires en tant qu’alliés en faveur d’une utilisation continue des méthodes contraceptives chez les jeunes

Modératrice : Madame Aïssata Fall, Représentante Régionale pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre – PRB

Panélistes :

  1. Madame Sorofing Traoré, point focal jeunes UCPO/FP2030 Mali
  2. Dr Alice Ndjoka, Directrice Adjointe, Programme National de la Santé de la Reproduction, Ministère de la Santé Publique, Hygiène et Prévention, R.D.C
  3. Madame Aminatou Sar, Directrice du Hub Afrique de l’Ouest et du bureau Sénégal de PATH
  4. Dr Bwato N’sindi, Spécialiste Technique, MH/RHCS Chef de l’unité Santé Sexuelle et Reproduction, UNFPA Togo

Webinar Series Recap: Youth, Faith, and Contraception in Francophone Africa


In Francophone Africa, young people ages 15 to 24 have difficulty accessing quality family planning (FP) information and services. In addition, they have a higher contraceptive discontinuation rate than older women and are particularly sensitive to adverse effects.  In March 2022, PRB convened a series of four webinars as a follow-up to the dialogue initiated in 2021 on sustainable youth contraceptive use. This webinar series was supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded PACE project, in collaboration with Knowledge SUCCESS. The series brought together representatives from the Ministries of Health of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guinea, and Mali, youth organizations, religious leaders, and technical and financial partners (TFPs) committed to improving FP access for youth. Panelists discussed sustainable FP access for youth based on a PACE analysis of the policy landscape in the Ouagadougou Partnership (OP) countries. Project-developed communication tools designed to strengthen the evidence-based dialogue on FP for youth supported the discussions.

Summary of Webinar Sessions

March 8, 2022: Sustaining Youth Contraceptive Use in the Context of FP2030 Commitments

The policy landscape for sustainable youth contraceptive use in the nine OP countries was analyzed based on seven recommendations outlined in a 2021 PRB policy brief. These recommendations aim to ensure that every young person has access, without discrimination, to the contraceptive method of their choice when and where they want it. A review of policy and regulatory documents from different countries, including FP2030 commitments, reproductive health laws, and National Budgeted Family Planning Action Plans, shows that overall, the policy environment in countries remains unsupportive of youth sustainable contraceptive use. Most countries recognize youth as a special needs group, but affordability, personalized follow-up, and access to the full range of contraceptives, especially self-administered methods, are largely inadequate. Panelists discussed priorities for their respective countries.

In Guinea, insufficient domestic resources, the sociocultural context, and the lack of youth-friendly services are the obstacles to overcome. The availability of a full range of contraceptive products was identified as a key issue, which is currently being addressed through a commitment to expand the supply of products in school infirmaries, the private sector, and military garrisons. This dynamic is also based on collaboration with civil society organizations, TFPs, and the active participation of young people.

In Senegal, addressing the diversity of youth needs was identified as a priority, considering their heterogeneity in terms of age, marital status, and living situation.  Youth organizations will seize the opportunity of the new National Budgeted Family Planning Action Plans to improve access to contraception for unmarried youth who are ignored in the current documents. Finally, the Democratic Republic of Congo (a country outside the OP) is prioritizing easy access to contraception in the private sector. Youth organizations there have conducted data-informed advocacy for the recognition of the specific needs of youth and obtained the signature of the provincial government on a decree supporting a five-year plan for youth access to contraception that emphasizes the importance of client-centered care.

March 14 and 24, 2022: Strengthening Partnerships With Youth and Religious Leaders to Improve Youth Access to Family Planning Through Informed Community Dialogue

The role of religious leaders in demystifying the taboos around FP for youth and reinforcing an evidence-informed dialogue is amply demonstrated. Videos produced by the PACE project in collaboration with religious leaders and youth in the Sahel illustrated the commitment of various religious denominations in promoting youth contraceptive use to ensure the well-being of the mother and child. And while their messages are framed in the context of marriage in any country, access to contraception for all youth, including unmarried youth, is included in the policies of secular countries such as Mali and the Central African Republic. In Mali, annual campaigns offer FP services to all users without restriction, in accordance with the principles of non-discrimination, particularly for young people, with the support of TFPs.

All panelists recognized the importance of informing FP communication with evidence – such as national Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) data – but noted that it remains insufficient to inform dialogue and advocacy. Existing data, often quantitative and time-specific, do not provide insight into the dynamics of youth contraceptive use. Secondary analyses of country data can help explain contraceptive discontinuation and convey the impact of side effects to improve messaging for both policymakers and the community. They are also important to demonstrate, for example, the role of FP in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality and early pregnancy. Panelists emphasized the need for a framework for governance and coordination of data produced by states and TFPs. The TFPs were encouraged to publish the data they produce on their sites for better monitoring of commitments in the OP and FP2030 frameworks.

March 29, 2022: Reinforcing Community Leaders as Allies for Continued Youth Contraceptive Use

Policy recommendations from the brief regarding recognizing the unique needs of youth and on the availability of a full range of contraceptives were specifically discussed. The panelists (Ministry of Health, youth organizations, and TFPs) noted the progress made, such as approval of the values and sexual health education program in Togo, promotion by DRC authorities of “youth-friendly” spaces in health facilities and the community, and inclusion of the use of contraception by youth in the reproductive health laws of their respective countries (DRC, Mali, Senegal, and Togo).  However, this legal context remains insufficient or is subject to sociocultural constraints. In the DRC, the law restricts 15-to-17-year-olds’ choice of contraceptive methods that can be accessed without parental authorization and prohibits access without parental consent for those under 15. In Mali and Togo, prejudice, health care providers’ lack of youth-friendly counseling skills, and the influence of conservative religious leaders are major obstacles. Despite the growing commitment of civil society and religious leaders, sociocultural barriers remain. Agreement is unanimous that no significant improvement in youth access to contraception has been made, underscoring the need to strengthen recognition and involvement of youth as full-fledged actors in policy and program formulation processes.


The policy landscape in OP countries remains unsupportive of youth sustainable contraceptive use. Despite progress in terms of strong commitments and the adoption of regulations, young people face several challenges in gaining sustainable access to a modern contraceptive method when and where they want it. Restrictions based on age, cost, and provider bias are all obstacles that must be overcome. Given this persistent situation, meaningful youth participation cannot be considered optional. Youth represent the majority of the population and must be fully involved in the formulation of policies that affect them and build their future. They must have the necessary knowledge to be heard and to ensure that their specific needs are effectively taken into account. As full-fledged actors in the community, they are the allies of governments. In societies fundamentally guided by faith, religious leaders are a force for strengthening dialogue and debunking false beliefs. Religious leaders’ collaboration with youth to bring about positive change in the community must be supported to amplify relevant evidence-based communication, using messages that are appropriate and shared by all.

Key Resources

The following PACE project resources were shared during the webinar series:

  • Policy brief—Best Practices for Sustainable Contraceptive Use Among Youth: This policy brief describes patterns of contraceptive discontinuation among youth and summarizes the evidence on the drivers of discontinuation, namely method concerns and quality of care. It presents a new analysis of key elements of dissatisfaction with FP services among youth that may contribute to contraceptive discontinuation. It describes policy and programmatic strategies that can improve contraceptive continuation among young women who want to prevent, delay, or space pregnancies.
  • An ENGAGE presentation—Building Community Confidence and Dialogue on Faith, Female Genital Mutilation, and Family Planning (Mauritania): PRB collaborated with the Association des Gestionnaires pour le Développement (AGD) and the Cadre des Religieux pour la Santé et le Développement (CRSD) to convene a multidisciplinary group committed to birth spacing among married couples and the abandonment of the practice of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) in Mauritania. This multidisciplinary group is made up of representatives from the Ministry of Health, religious leaders, youth, and donors. The group validated the development and production of a video aimed at religious leaders and youth in Mauritania and the Sahel. The purpose of the video is to catalyze regional and national dialogue on the positive intersections between the Islamic religion and the reproductive health and wellness needs of women and youth in Mauritania. It shows possible forms of collaboration between religious leaders and youth to create an enabling environment for youth reproductive health policies and programs.
  • An ENGAGE presentation—Nothing is Taboo! (Sahel Region): The ENGAGE presentation shows how religious communities and youth in the Sahel can work together to advance the future of the region by promoting frank and open dialogue and by prioritizing social tolerance. It highlights how religious leaders can use their influence in a positive way to condemn the practices of child marriage and FGM/C. The presentation also reinforces the message that religious leaders in the region are willing to encourage the use of FP among young married couples and to support family life education programs.
  • An ENGAGE presentation—Senegal is Committed: Religion and Family Health—is an an advocacy tool to link reproductive health and family planning issues to faith-based attitudes and beliefs. Drawing on community and religious leaders, the presentation links the impacts of family planning and birth spacing to positive outcomes for childcare, nutrition, and education, as well as for natural resources. The presentation illustrates how family planning improves maternal and child health and contributes to the well-being of Senegalese families. By breaking down complex concepts and using non-technical language, the presentation shows how religious leaders in Senegal can guide families to lead spiritual, happy, and healthy lives.
  • Rapid analysis—Policy Landscape for Sustaining Youth Contraceptive Use in the Nine Ouagadougou Partnership Countries: The Policy Landscape Analysis presents the status of implementation of the seven recommendations of the policy brief in the nine OP countries. Each recommendation is broken down into criteria to which indicators are assigned. The review of policy and program documents made it possible to assign a rating to each indicator. The method of analysis of the indicators essentially took into account the immediate accessibility or lack of services for a young person ages 15 to 24 in need of FP services. The rating for each indicator was therefore: Yes or No. The objective of the document is to provide advocacy actors with information and data from national documents to inform their messages and their dialogue with policymakers.

Webinar 1: Sustaining Youth Contraceptive Use in the Context of FP2030 Commitments

Moderator: Ms. Aissata Fall, Regional Representative for West and Central Africa – PRB


  1. Fatou Diop, Founding member of FP2030’s consultative group of young civil society organizations, Senegal
  2. Simon Mambo, Co-Founder/Executive Director, Youth Alliance for Reproductive Health, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  3. Siré Camara, Head of the Division of Family Planning at the National Directorate of Family Health and Nutrition (DNSFN) at the Ministry of Health and Hygiene, Guinea

Webinar 2: Reinforcing Partnerships With Youth and Faith Leaders to Improve Youth’s Access to Family Planning

Moderator: Ms. Célia d’Almeida, Communication Consultant – Director at Odeka Media & Training


  1. Aly Kébé, Member of the network of youth SRH/FP ambassadors in Mauritania
  2. Imam Abdallah Sarr, Secretary General of the Hands of Fraternity Association in Mauritania
  3. Ben Moulaye Idriss, Director General of the National Office of Reproductive Health (ONASR), Mali
  4. Konan Jules Yao, Deputy Representative, UNFPA Central African Republic

Webinar 3: Advancing Policy Agendas Through Informed Community Dialogues

Moderator: Ms. Célia d’Almeida, Communication consultant – Director at Odeka Media & Training


  1. Hayathe Ayeva, Young leader and SRH/FP ambassador, Togo
  2. Marlène Quenum, President of Hello Benin NGO, Head of the coalition of civil society organizations of Benin
  3. Cheikh Elh Oumarou Mahaman Bachir, President of the Religious Alliance of West Africa, Niger
  4. Aliou Diop, President of the Association of Managers for Development, FP2030 civil society focal point, Mauritania
  5. Koudaogo Ouédraogo, Resident Representative, UNFPA Central African Republic

Webinar 4: Reinforcing Community Leaders as Allies for Continued Youth Contraceptive Use

Moderator: Ms. Aissata Fall, Regional Representative for West and Central Africa – PRB


  1. Sorofing Traoré, UCPO/FP2030 youth focal point, Mali
  2. Alice Ndjoka, Assistant Director, National Reproductive Health Program at the Ministry of Public Heath, Hygiene, and Prevention, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  3. Aminatou Sar, Director of West Africa Hub and Senegal Office, PATH
  4. Bwato N’sindi, Technical Specialist (MH/RHCS), Head of Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit, UNFPA Togo

Webinaire. Dialogue politique entre Jeunes et Décideurs sur l’utilisation durable de la contraception chez les jeunes en Afrique de l’Ouest


Mercredi 26 mai 2021 – 14H00 à 16H00 GMT

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En collaboration avec le
Réseau des Femmes Sénégalaises pour la Promotion de la Planification Familiale (REFESPF) et le projet Knowledge SUCCESS, le Project PACE, mis en œuvre par PRB, vous invite à un dialogue politique virtuel entre des jeunes leaders et des décideurs politiques.

Ce dialogue est basé sur une note de politique élaborée par PACE, une analyse secondaire de résultats de recherches fournissant des recommandations politiques pour réduire les barrières à l’utilisation durable des contraceptifs par les jeunes.

Cette rencontre a pour objectif de renforcer l’engagement des décideurs régionaux à surmonter les obstacles à l’utilisation durable de la contraception chez les jeunes, et également de créer des liens et des opportunités de collaboration entre les organisations dirigées par des jeunes, les journalistes et les jeunes chercheurs.


Les présentations seront suivies d’une table ronde avec :

  • M Rachid Awal, AfriYAN Niger
  • Fatou Diop, Point focal Jeune du Partenariat de Ouagadougou et de FP2030 au Sénégal, Chargée de la recherche à l’ANJSR/PF
  • Honorable Assoupi Amèle Adjeh, Vice-Présidente de la Commission Santé de l’Assemblée Nationale du Togo
  • Angelo Evariste Ahouandjinou, Maire de la commune de Abomey-Calavi du Bénin
  • Dr Siré Camara, Cheffe de Division PF/DNSFN au Ministere de la santé de Guinée Conakry
  • Mme Fatimata Sanou Toure, Magistrat et Experte en genre et en Droit de la Santé Sexuelle et Reproductive du Burkina Faso


Modéré par :

Aïssata Fall, Conseillère Régionale Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre, PRB

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How Can We Holistically Address Equity, Conservation, Reproductive Health, and Livelihood Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Nearly everyone has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping the globe, straining health systems and people’s abilities to maintain their livelihoods.

This global health crisis combines with the climate crisis to exacerbate existing inequalities that overwhelmingly affect vulnerable populations, such as women, youth, those living in poverty, and rural and indigenous communities.

On June 3, 2020, leaders in the fields of conservation, reproductive health, and gender equality convened to discuss the shared challenges and impacts arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the common areas of opportunity they are witnessing to harness this moment for positive change.

How Can We Holistically Address Equity, Conservation, Reproductive Health, and Livelihood Needs? Video thumbnail

How Can We Holistically Address Equity, Conservation, Reproductive Health, and Livelihood Needs?

How Can We Holistically Address Equity, Conservation, Reproductive Health, and Livelihood Needs?

Panelists evoked the gravity as well as the opportunity of the challenges facing the development community in the face of COVID-19, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa. All panelists emphasized that COVID-19 has served to highlight existing development challenges, further highlighting the linkages between areas such as gender, livelihoods, human rights, and conservation, as well as the importance of multisectoral approaches to enhance resilience to such shocks. “COVID-19 has made it clear that humanity is dependent on nature, that interconnectedness of nature and life on earth infuses every part of our lives,” stated Kaddu Sebunya. Echoing a similar sentiment, Latanya Mapp Frett drew parallels between the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis in terms of their effect on existing and interrelated inequalities, stating, “we see an amazing amount of interconnectedness between climate and gender at every single level.”

While the direct public health impacts of the virus’s spread have been devastating, its secondary impacts on economic security, mobility, and safety affect the well-being of vulnerable communities. Jason Bremner presented data on household surveys from women in due to the pandemic, indicating: “It wasn’t as much about the lack of a method, but much more about lack of money to pay for a method or concern about safety,” preventing women from accessing essential reproductive health services during the pandemic. Similarly, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka pointed to the economic impact on communities living near national parks dependent on tourism, who found their major source of income devastated during the crisis. “One thing that has come out of the pandemic is the need to not just see tourism as the only financial incentive to conserve wildlife, because tourism comes and goes … there is a big need to find other livelihoods, and also to value conservation in other ways,” she states.

While the impacts of COVID-19 are severe and far-reaching, the panelists also highlighted the fact that the global pandemic presents an opportunity – and a call for action.

This webinar is part of the Africa Population, Environment, Development (PED) webinar series made possible through the USAID-funded PACE (Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Population and Reproductive Health) project. For regular updates about PED news, opportunities, resources, and other events, subscribe to the monthly Global PED updates newsletter online and follow @AfricaPHE on Twitter.


Pathfinder International and partners in Kenya and Uganda have implemented the Health of the People and Environment in the Lake Victoria Basin (HoPE-LVB) project since 2011.

The project aims to scale up its use of the population, health, and environment (PHE) community-development model at local, national, and regional levels by integrating PHE considerations in formal government development planning and policies. “PHE” refers to the PHE approach, which aspires to increase access to comprehensive reproductive health services and improve maternal and child health care practices while simultaneously improving natural resource management in project communities.


HoPE LVB Project Evaluation Webinar 2019 04 30 09 02 Video thumbnail

HoPE LVB Project Evaluation Webinar 2019 04 30 09 02

HoPE LVB Project Evaluation Webinar 2019 04 30 09 02

On April 30th, 2019, HoPE-LVB project implementers and evaluators discussed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) evaluation report on the model’s effectiveness and scalability. Released in April 2018, the USAID report addresses three key questions:

What are stakeholders’ perceptions of the HoPE-LVB project model’s added value to family planning and reproductive health, maternal and child health, livelihoods, governance, natural resources management, or conservation?
Has the HoPE-LVB project’s explicit focus on systematic planning for scale-up resulted in positive outcomes for the model’s institutionalization, sustainability, and expansion?
To what extent did the HoPE-LVB project achieve its objectives as measured by its key performance indicators/results?

The evaluation of HoPE-LVB had been long anticipated, as the project was supported by cross-sectoral investments by multiple donors and represents a pioneering East African PHE project implemented at scale.

The webinar, scheduled at 9:00 a.m. EST on April 30, 2019, was hosted by the PACE (Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Population and Reproductive Health) project. It included the following speakers:

Clive Mutunga of USAID provided introductory remarks on USAID’s support for PHE models globally and what USAID learned from the evaluation of HoPE-LVB.
Eileen Mokaya of Pathfinder International provided an overview of the HoPE-LVB project.
Richard Kibombo of Global Health Program Cycle Improvement Project (GH Pro) shared the evaluation’s results and his suggested next steps for PHE sustainability and scale-up.


Webinar: How Can Population, Health, and Environment Projects Learn From Family Planning High Impact Practices?

How Can Population, Health, and Environment Projects Learn From Family Planning High Impact Practice Video thumbnail

How Can Population, Health, and Environment Projects Learn From Family Planning High Impact Practice

How Can Population, Health, and Environment Projects Learn From Family Planning High Impact Practice

Family Planning High Impact Practices (HIPs) are a set of evidence-based practices developed by experts in the family planning sector that improve family planning and reproductive health outcomes. This webinar, hosted by the PACE (Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced for Population and Reproductive Health) project and the Implementing Best Practices Initiative Secretariat, explores how HIPs can be applied in development programs that integrate multiple sectors at the community level, including family planning.

The newly published web feature and policy brief, provides background on HIPs and explores the promising opportunity to expand their use within population, health, and environment (PHE) projects. Speakers Laura Cooper Hall (Population Reference Bureau), Caitlin Thistle (United States Agency for International Development), and Yvette Ribaira (JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc.) discuss the value of HIPs to PHE projects and family planning outcomes and highlight how PHE projects are already implementing HIPs elements in their activities.

The webinar concludes with a Q&A session between Caitlin Thistle, a HIP expert, and Yvette Ribaira, a PHE project implementer.

Webinar: Questionable? Why an Untested Citizenship Question Threatens the 2020 Census

With the 2020 Census set to begin in less than 18 months, the Trump administration has proposed adding an untested question on citizenship status to the decennial survey. This action is currently being challenged in federal court by several states, and a decision is pending. Civil rights and scientific organizations alike are concerned that including the citizenship question will adversely affect participation in the 2020 Census and, ultimately, the quality of decennial census data.

In this webinar, population scientists Dr. Douglas S. Massey (Princeton University) and Dr. Jennifer Van Hook (Pennsylvania State University) discussed the implications of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Dr. Linda Jacobsen (Population Reference Bureau) moderated the discussion.

Webinar 2020 Census Citizenship Question Video thumbnail

Webinar 2020 Census Citizenship Question


View Massey slides


View Massey slides

The Population Association of America organized this webinar with support from PRB.


Event: Addressing Gender-Based Violence Through Cash Transfer Programming, Part II

IGWG Addressing GBV Through Cash Transfer Programming Part II Video thumbnail

IGWG Addressing GBV Through Cash Transfer Programming Part II

December 3, 2018
8:30 AM – 11:30 AM

More money, less violence? This event was the second part in the IGWG’s Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Task Force series on the use of cash transfer approaches to address GBV and other reproductive health outcomes.

Part II of this series delved more deeply into the specifics of cash transfers for addressing GBV. What are the strengths and shortcomings for this type of intervention to reduce GBV? How have cash transfers been incorporated into GBV programs in humanitarian settings? What are the considerations for applying cash transfer interventions to reduce GBV when working with adolescent girls?

Panelists and Presentations

This event built on Part I, held on September 17. That event introduced cash transfer approaches, highlighted some of the evidence around the effectiveness of cash transfers for addressing GBV, and sparked a discussion of the pathways through which cash transfer programming can affect violence-related outcomes.


Event: The Role of Population and Family Planning in Peace and Security

PRB’s PACE Project is co-sponsored a policy dialogue at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for scholars moderated by PRB Board of Trustees member, Geoffrey Dabelko. discussing how population dynamics and family planning impact peace and security.

“A More Secure World: The Role of Population and Family Planning in Peace and Security.”

A More Secure World: The Role of Population and Family Planning in Peace and Security Video thumbnail

A More Secure World: The Role of Population and Family Planning in Peace and Security

A More Secure World: The Role of Population and Family Planning in Peace and Security