Addis Ababa September 30/2013 The Regional Conference on Population and Development Beyond 2014, which seeks to emphasize the need for state and non-state actors to recommit themselves at the highest level to fully implementing the ICPD Plan of Action at national and regional levels opened here Monday.
The conference being held under the theme: “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend: The future we want for Africa” is an important part of the global effort to define the post 2015 development agenda.
The purpose of the conference is to review evidence of progress, challenges, gaps and emerging issues in relation to the achievement of the goals set out in International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) agenda with the aim of making recommendations that will accelerate progress towards the goals set out in the 1994 Program of Action.
Speaking on the occasion ECA Deputy Executive Secretary Abdalla Hamdok said since 1994 when the continent hosted the ICPD Conference, Africa has been progressing steadily in the areas of economic and social development.
He said Africa is experiencing mega demographic shifts.
Number of people on the continent has increased from 703 million in 1994 to a projected 1.2 billion in 2014, he said, adding, each year since the Cairo consensus, the continent has added about 21 million people to its population.
Hamdok said Africa also has the youngest population and will remain so for decades in a rapidly ageing world.
These demographic changes are shaping Africa’s position in the global market for labor, trade and capital, he added.
While the continent has made significant strides in addressing population issues, persistent challenges including increasing inequalities amongst population groups remain.
He mentioned that the wide gaps between population-related policies and their actual implementation in most African countries is also a challenge.