Kampala, 9 July 2018 (ECA) - The African Center for Gender in partnership with the Population and Youth Section of the social Development Policy Division at Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) launched the “Demographic Dividend with a Gender Dimension” project in Kampala on July 5th, 2018 with the participation of technical experts that constitute the National Steering Committee on Demographic Dividend representing several ministries, civil society organizations, academia and UN agencies.
The inception meeting was opened by the Director General of National Population Council, Mr. Jotham Musinguzi and the Director for Gender at the Ministry for Gender, Labor and Social Development, Ms. Jane Mpagi.
Mr. Musinguzi highlighted the perfect timing of this Project in line with the current initiatives being undertaken by the Government of Uganda, including the tabling of the National Population Policy along with the Road Map that sets out the specific interventions to record progress over the Policy.
He noted that the Project would complement the ongoing efforts with evidence-based technical analysis, actionable policy tools and policy dialogue platforms with other African countries as well as countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr. Musinguzi stressed the need for capacity building at both national and regional levels to enhance the skills of those at the forefront of several interventions that aim for behavioral change at the level of citizenry for harnessing the demographic dividend (DD)
Ms. Mpagi welcomed the Project as it elevates gender inequalities particularly in social and economic domains that block countries like Uganda from harnessing demographic dividend. She argued that the Project must support the Government of Uganda in ensuring that gender is mainstreamed at every level and stage from design to implementation of interventions that target harnessing the DD.
She concurred with Mr. Musinguzi that harnessing DD is at the top of Government’s agenda and she hoped that the new Population Policy along with its Road Map will kick-start a new era of activities in Uganda at national, regional and district levels to transform Uganda’s potential into reality in line with Vision 2040 where Uganda aims to increase its GDP per capita to just under $10,000.
The Inception Meeting continued with three presentations that provided a continental overview, showed the context for Uganda and introduced the Project Strategy. A wealth of insights and feedback were collected from the technical experts. The participants spent ample time discussing the Road map ahead of Uganda in achieving the objectives of the upcoming National Population Policy, which is expected to be tabled at the Cabinet in August 2018.
Among specific objectives in line with Vision 2040, Uganda needs to first lower the total fertility rate and adolescent pregnancy rate. Currently at above 5.4 births per women, Uganda is positioned at pre-dividend stage, procrastinating its window of opportunity to harness DD. According to the national transfer accounts, the end of the first dividend is estimated for 2071.Achieving the objectives of Vision 2040 however require total fertility rate to drop down to replacement rate.
The “Demographic Dividend with a Gender Dimension” therefore carries substantial potential to mainstream gender issues into strategies and programmes that will be budgeted in Uganda in the next couple of years. The Project also provides an opportunity to Uganda to showcase its ongoing efforts to other African countries, particularly member States in the Sahel region where similarly total fertility rates are on average very high.
Having achieved commendable progress over child mortality and maternal mortality rates, the issue in fertility control in Uganda is certainly and inextricably related to gender inequality in social and economic spheres.
The technical experts shared their critical thinking over the theory of change brought by the Project and scrutinized each activity that ECA aims to undertake in the 2018-2021. They ensure that the activities reflect the constraints and opportunities currently present in Uganda.
They advised that ECA targets the budget period of 2019/2020 in complementing the planned activities of the Government on harnessing the demographic dividend. They emphasized that the set of stakeholders to be widened beyond the members of the Steering Committee and include Media in particular to ensure outreach to citizens.
ECA is expected to return to Uganda for National Training Workshops in Summer 2019. The key stakeholders in Uganda however will collaborate with ECA in the next 12 months, ensuring that the knowledge products and policy tools ECA develops will strengthen the capacity of Uganda to harness the demographic dividend and narrow down gender inequalities.
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Tel: +251 11 551 5826