Niamey (Niger), 25 November 2020 - The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, in partnership with the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, today virtually launched the proceedings of a meeting of West African Think Tanks and experts on the theme: "Generational Economy and Structural Transformation in COVID-19 era in West Africa".
The choice of this theme is a way for the ECA Sub-Regional Office for West Africa to highlight the particularly acute demographic challenges in West Africa and to underscore the close link between population dynamics and the sustainable development objectives that countries are pursuing, with the risk that the Covid-19 pandemic may divert efforts from population policies.
In view of the many challenges associated with demographic dynamics in West Africa, aggravated by the adverse effects of the Covid-19 crisis, the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2063 Agenda for Africa's future aspirations will require a better understanding of the region's demographic transformations and the policies that are critical to achieving the demographic dividend, such as access to affordable and quality health services and social protection, quality education and employment opportunities for young people.
The objective of this virtual meeting is therefore to explore the link between population dynamics and sustainable development and to identify ways to align demographic change in West Africa with sustainable development objectives. The focus will be on the Covid-19 pandemic and its likely negative impact on population dynamics and the drivers of the demographic dividend.
According to the Acting Director and Chief of the Demographic Dynamics for Development (DDD) Section of ECA Sub-Regional Office for West Africa, Bakary Dosso, «The choice of the theme ‘’Generational economy and structural transformation in COVID 19 era in West Africa’’ is a way for ECA/SRO-WA to underline the particularly acute demographic challenges in West Africa and to highlight the close connection between population dynamics and the sustainable development objectives that countries are pursuing; with the risk that the covid-19 pandemic could divert efforts away from population policies ».
“The population growth in West Africa is estimated at 2.6% in 2020, more than double the world average of 1.04%. While there has been a consistent decline in the population growth in West Africa partly explained by reduced fertility rates, progress is still slow compared to other regions and sub-regions of the world”, he said.
“Given the many challenges associated with population dynamics in West Africa compound by the adverse effects of the Covid-19 crisis, achieving the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development and the 2063 agenda for Africa’s aspirations for the future will require a better understanding of the demographic transformations of the region and policies that are essential to the attainment of demographic dividend such as access to quality and affordable health and social protection, quality education and job opportunities for the youth », said Bakary Dosso.
For his part, the Regional Director for West and Central Africa of the World Food Programme (WFP), Mr. Chris Nikoi, stressed the need to share experiences and good practices in responses to the social and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 and the lessons learned from the various policy responses adopted by countries.
"In the face of a COVID-19 crisis that is as much global as it is regional, it is not only important to have a coalition of partners to measure the long-term macroeconomic impacts but also the social protection provisions needed in the short term, including responding to the resulting humanitarian crisis to provide basic social services in the areas of health, water and sanitation, and education," said Mr. Chris Nikoi.
In his opening speech, the Director of Macroeconomic Studies at the Ministry of Budget and Planning of Nigeria, Mr. ADEOSUN David, thanked ECA "for its efforts to coordinate a joint and urgent response of our countries to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the various consultations of the Ministers of Finance for a common position on access to concessional loans from the World Bank Group as well as other private financial institutions".
Representatives of the Regional Economic Communities and Intergovernmental Organizations of West Africa, representatives of the private sector and representatives of the United Nations System as well as academics participate in this meeting.
For more information, please contact Mr. Tahirou Gouro Communication Officer at ECA- SRO/WA,