Ethiopia Makes Progress Toward a Demographic Dividend

(This article was originally posted on the New Security Beat, the blog of the Environmental Change and Security Program.)

(December 2015) Inspired by the success of East Asian economies, the demographic dividend framework is taking off in sub-Saharan Africa, where many are yearning for workable solutions to the region’s ongoing development challenges.

In Addis Ababa this week during a workshop hosted by the National Planning Commission and the United Nations Population Fund, leaders will grapple with how to accomplish the economic boost of a demographic dividend in Ethiopia. As a climate change hotspot facing one of its worst droughts in decades, the linkages between Ethiopia’s population and its development are more important than ever.

A demographic dividend refers to accelerated economic growth that can begin when a country shifts from high to low birth and death rates. As mortality and fertility decline, a country’s working-age population grows in relation to the number of young dependents, opening a window of opportunity for faster economic growth.

Over the last two decades, Ethiopia has experienced an impressive decline in fertility, enjoyed strong economic growth, and made great strides in poverty reduction. According to a new report, these achievements indicate that Ethiopia may be on track to reap a demographic dividend, but policymakers must act to both take advantage of opportunities and address remaining challenges.

Read the rest of this post on the New Security Beat.

Assefa Admassie is a principal researcher at the Ethiopian Economics Association. Shelley Megquier is a policy analyst at the Population Reference Bureau.