Supporting National Advocacy Efforts to Amplify Understanding of the Multisectoral Benefits of Age Structure Change Among Local Decisionmakers
The demographic dividend—the prospect for accelerated economic growth driven by a country’s maturing age structure—has captivated the attention of policymakers around the world.
National Population Council of Ghana
National Population Council of Uganda
February 23, 2021
The demographic dividend—the prospect for accelerated economic growth driven by a country’s maturing age structure—has captivated the attention of policymakers around the world. Yet challenges persist in reaching new decisionmakers, including subnational decisionmakers, with evidence and information about the benefits of age structure change across different sectors. PACE has been working to expand the concept of the demographic dividend, showing how age structure change opens a window of opportunity to attain benefits—or dividends—in four sectors: health, education, the economy, and political stability. Since 2018, PACE has partnered with the National Population Council (NPC) Uganda and NPC Ghana to create powerful advocacy materials that use the four dividends findings to demonstrate the importance of investment in voluntary family planning and human capital development in subnational development plans and budgets.
Achieving national goals to transform into a modern and prosperous upper-middle income country starts with accelerating the change in a country’s population age structure. Investment in human capital is key, beginning with expanding access to voluntary family planning services. In Ghana and Uganda, young people dominate the population age structure—or the share of the population in each age group—with almost 38% of Ghanaians and almost half of Ugandans below age 15. Both countries can shift this high child dependency by empowering women to achieve their reproductive goals. When women and couples have access to voluntary family planning, they have fewer children and are better able to provide for each child. In addition to voluntary family planning, to achieve a demographic dividend and reach the national economic goals, Ghana and Uganda must make additional investments in human capital development—especially health and education—as well as the economy and good governance.
Uganda’s Vision 2040 Strategy envisions a path to transform into a modern and prosperous upper-middle income country by the year 2040. Building a Stronger Uganda Through Investment in People showcases Uganda’s Demographic Dividend Roadmap, which outlines the interventions needed to harness the demographic dividend and achieve Vision 2040 targets.
Building a Stronger Uganda Through Investment in People was developed under the leadership of NPC Uganda, with strategic inputs by the Demographic Dividend Sector Working Group. The narrated video is accompanied by an action-oriented fact sheet summarizing interventions needed to harness the dividend.
Building off the successful launch of the national resources during regional budget conferences that inform district planning priorities each fiscal year, the NPC engaged five focus districts to support prioritization and integration of demographic dividend interventions at the district level. Fact sheets for each of the five districts highlight key metrics underscoring the importance of investments in voluntary family planning and human capital development, and outline actions districts can prioritize (see below).
Turning the Wheels Towards Sustainable Development showcases the interventions necessary to harness the demographic dividend and accelerate Ghana’s path to become a modern and prosperous country.
Turning the Wheels Towards Sustainable Development was developed under the leadership of NPC Ghana and produced by Almoviser Production Company with support from PRB. The narrated video is accompanied by an action-oriented fact sheet summarizing interventions needed to harness the dividend.
Lessons Learned in Reaching Subnational Decisionmakers
Policy advocacy initiatives focused on achieving the demographic dividend often focus on national policymakers. Yet many of the budget and policy commitments that will accelerate progress toward the dividend are determined at the district level. NPCU’s advocacy initiative to reach district decisionmakers led to commitments in at least three of the five focus districts. In Kasese and Lwengo districts, recommendations outlined by NPCU and PACE were incorporated into their respective District Demographic Dividend Action Plans 2021-22. Agago district leaders mainstreamed a set of demographic dividend indicators in their District Development Plan’s monitoring and evaluation framework, which will be tracked quarterly. The District Development Plan is the guiding strategy establishing the direction of public investments and tracking implementation of programs at the district level.
Based on these experiences, NPCU recommends four core strategies to increase commitment to invest in human capital development, including voluntary family planning, among district decisionmakers. These strategies are highlighted in the fact sheet Prioritizing the Demographic Dividend: Subnational Advocacy With District Decisionmakers in Uganda.