Pretoria, South Africa, 2 July 2018 (ECA) - The African Centre for Gender (ACG) in partnership with the Population and Youth Section at the Social Development Policy Division (SDPD) of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) launched on Friday, 29 June 2018, the Development Account 11th Tranche Project titled “Demographic Dividend with a Gender Dimension: Entry Points for Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa and Asia and the Pacific” with the presence of over 25 technical experts representing ministries, civil society organization and academia in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Director of SDPD, Ms. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, in her opening remarks stressed the importance of strengthening the capacity of member States in Africa to harness demographic dividend through narrowing gender gaps, particularly in social and economic dimensions. She noted that relative to other target countries of this Project, i.e. Nigeria and Uganda, South Africa is at a critical juncture to harness demographic dividend with the tipping point in mid-2050s indicating the closure of the window of opportunity.
Mr. Jacques Van Zuydam, the Chief of National Population Unit at the Department of Social Development in South Africa praised the project’s interregional and cross-sectoral approach and said that South Africa stands to gain substantially from this 4-year long partnership with ECA. He shared the latest analysis on demographic transitions and made critical remarks pertaining to the need to continue investing in education and health for South Africa’s children. In his presentation, he made it clear that harnessing demographic dividend is at the forefront of South Africa’s development agenda with substantial spillover effects to various SDGs.
Ms. Lieketseng Mohlakoana Motopi from the Commission for Gender Equality made a presentation reviewing gender gaps in economic, social and political spheres in South Africa based on the African Gender and Development Index (AGDI) designed by the ACG. Praising the long-standing relationship between CGE and ACG, Ms. Lieketseng shared important results from AGDI pertaining to the issues to be addressed by this Project including gender gaps in quality and quantity of education, children’s health, accessing decent employment and assets in South Africa.
The Project Launch continued with plenary discussion and a review of the Project Strategy. The DA11 team at ECA shared the logical framework of the Project highlighting the theory of change that translates Project’s activities to its expected accomplishments. The group of technical experts then were divided into three groups scrutinizing the Project Strategy and providing their most valuable feedback to be considered by ECA.
The next steps that emerged from the Project Launch was to review the critical feedback provided by technical experts and to start the first set of activities assigned for 2018, including the preparation of the Situation Analysis, which will set a shared understanding of the problem, at hand. The DA11 team will return to Pretoria in Summer 2019 for a “National Training Workshop” as the main capacity-building activity of this Project, where all knowledge products and policy tools to be developed in the next 12 months will be shared and operationalized with the technical experts.
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