Launched three months ago, the study which was carried out to identify policy and investment options that should be considered to maximize the dividends that Malawi can earn further indicates that the country’s population will at least double by 2054.
Speaking at a multi-sector reference group meeting organised to review the Draft Report, United Nations Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo stressed on the need to undertake lessons from the unfinished business of the MDG’s and the key message of SDG’s which have just been approved by member states.
“This is a very timely conversation. It comes as Malawi is starting to think about its next development plan; formation of a plan which is prioritized and make some tough choices in terms of what needs to be done.
“A plan that hopefully falls within a broader vision that all Malawians can unite around in terms of moving the country forward," Observed Seppo.
She said the Demographic Dividend findings present a valuable integrated framework for unleashing the power of the youth in enabling the country achieve the recently adopted SDG’s by member states.
Seppo called on government to ensure an inclusive economic growth which creates quality jobs for its youthful population.
She stressed that accelerating socio economic development in Malawi will require adoption of integrated game changer policies and strategic investments in all the demographic dividend pillars.
She further observed that the demographic dividend pillars ranging from fertility decline, public health, education and skills development and economic reforms to create jobs and governance have strong links with the SDG’S.
“Although the country has made good progress in increasing contraceptive use, fertility rates have not declined proportionally partly because many women start using contraceptives after they already have 5 or 6 children,” Seppo said.
The UN Envoy hence said it is important to reinforce interventions that are helping the country lower child mortality rates citing malnutrition.
Minister of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development Henry Mussa hailed the release of the findings as they coincide with the transition from Millennium Development Goals (MDG)’s to SDG’s.
He said government has put in place strategies to help transform youths into productive citizens.
“We are focusing on skills development; but before you get to skills development you need to have healthy and educated youth population and therefore opportunities in as far as employability is concerned,” Mussa said
He said the findings should to be disseminated to all relevant players such as religious groupings, chiefs, academia and the private sector for the recommendations if they are to be effectively implemented.