African govts urged to mainstream population issues in devt planning

African governments have been urged to consider mainstream population issues in their medium and long term development planning because of the importance of population in shaping the socioeconomic future of the continent in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

They are also tasked to commit more resources to strengthen data collection, including censuses, civil and vital registrations for quality data and indicators to monitor progress in development on the continent.

This was contained in the “Entebbe Declaration” read on Friday by the Vice President of the Union of African Population Studies (UAPS) and chair of the scientific committee, Professor Nyovani Madise, at the end of the 8th African Population Conference held here in Entebbe, Uganda. 

It was held on the theme, “Harnessing Africa’s Population Dynamics for Sustainable Development: 25 years after Cairo and Beyond” and attended by more than 1,000 participants across the globe made up of population scientists and other related fields, policymakers, civil society organisations and development partners.

The conference noted the progress made by Africa in the implementation of many key recommendations following the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held 25 years ago in Cairo but “there is still unfinished agenda to pursue in many areas across the continent.”

Participants enumerated some of the population related development challenges still confronting the continent as high maternal mortality, though preventable, at “unacceptable rate of 540, about 67 per cent of the estimated 808 daily global mortality”, “unmet needs “for family planning, socio-cultural barriers against youth  access to sexual reproductive health services, climate change, migration and  and urbanisation resulting in urban slumps, filth, poverty, substance abuse, crime and mental health challenges.

“We will continue to work together with African governments, private sector, civil society organisations, media and development partners to address the challenges,” the conference assured.

It noted Africa’s commitment to the African Union Agenda 2063 and the UN Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) toward transforming the continent’s socioeconomic fortunes.

Africa’s population, largely youthful, is projected to be 2.5 billion by 2050, representing 26 per cent of the world’s population which comes with a Demographic Dividend (DD).

To reap the benefits of the DD, the conference expressed the need to provide the youth with “quality education, employable skill and sustainable livelihoods through entrepreneurial and job creations.”

They also called on African governments to create enabling environment for inclusiveness, transparency and accountable governance to thrive toward achieving the SDGs.

The conference urged African researchers to pursue “innovative and excellent research” to support African governments, regional blocks and the AU with technical assistance while urging development partners to continue to fund research and training of demographers and population scientists. 

The APC is held every four years by the Union of African Population Studies             (UAPS), the largest pan- African scientific organisation with a membership of about 2,000.

Ghana’s Prof. Samuel Nii Codjoe, President of the UAPS and immediate past Director of Regional Institute for Populations Studies of the University of Ghana, handed over the presidency to Donatien Beguy of Chad.

FROM SALIFU ABDUL-RAHAMAN, ENTEBBE, UGANDA

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