Supporting Population Evidence and Champions in Africa (SPEC)

Between 2014 and 2017, we created and disseminated country-specific analyses and materials in three countries: Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Senegal.

David and Lucile Packard Foundation

With support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, PRB is working to build capacity for evidence-based leadership on the demographic dividend in sub-Saharan African countries and to ensure coordination of related demographic dividend activities in the region. The demographic dividend refers to the accelerated economic growth that can result when a rapid decline in a country’s fertility rate leads to an increase in the working-age population relative to the number of dependents. The right mix of policies needs to be in place to take advantage of these demographic changes. Between 2014 and 2017, we created and disseminated country-specific analyses and materials in three countries: Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Senegal.

Ongoing support from the Packard Foundation between 2017 and 2019 allows us to continue our work in Ethiopia and to engage with the African Union Commission through the Supporting Population Evidence and Champions in Africa (SPEC) project.

At both the regional and national levels, our strategy relies on building local leadership to engage policy audiences with evidence on what is required to realize a potential demographic dividend. We work with African research and advocacy organizations, building their capacity to influence policymakers to strengthen commitment to and investment in family planning, health, education.

Project Activities

PRB is closely partnering with the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS) and the African Union Commission (AUC)’s Human Capacity and Youth Division, institutions that provide leadership on using evidence to guide integration of reproductive health and population issues into development planning. In Ethiopia, EAS is organizing demographic dividend-focused events and producing materials analyzing key population policies and reports. At the regional level, the AUC is strengthening its knowledge management and research, and fortifying policy generation and actions on youth development to capitalize on the theme of “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.” Together, these collaborations are building the capacity of national and regional institutions in sub-Saharan African countries to use local data and evidence to generate political support for family planning and reproductive health in the context of population and development.

Realizing a Demographic Dividend–Ensuring Regional and National Commitment and Action Project (2014-2017)


Materials on the demographic dividend in Ethiopia developed with the support of Packard Foundation funding include:

Democratic Republic of the Congo

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), PRB staff led a workshop on challenges and resources for developing advocacy materials around the demographic dividend at the 3rd National Conference on Repositioning Family Planning. The workshop participants’ insights are summarized in “Le dividende démographique: plan d’élaboration des outils de plaidoyer en République Démocratique du Congo.

A wall chart was launched in 2016 in the DRC as an advocacy tool for the country’s planning leaders. It highlights particular challenges that the DRC faces and explains the need for multisectoral investments, prioritizing key investments in education, health care, and job creation.

In March 2017 PRB organized a training workshop on the demographic dividend (DD) in the DRC for national and regional development planning leaders. The workshop had two goals:

  • Improve participants’ understanding of the demographic dividend.
  • Empower participants to incorporate the demographic dividend into advocacy efforts at the provincial level.


PRB, in partnership with Centre de Recherché en Economie et Finances Appliquées de Thiès (CREFAT), held a week-long policy communications workshop for researchers and civil servants in Saly, Senegal, in 2016. Focused on the demographic dividend, this workshop trained participants in how to effectively communicate their research on the demographic dividend to policymakers in Senegal.