Experts Convene in Kampala, Discuss how Demography Can Influence Social Economic Transformation
Experts from the Makerere University, National Population Council (NPC), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Demographic & Ageing Forum (WDA Forum) St. Gallen/Switzerland as well as global actors on Demographic dividend have convened in Kampala to explore the formulation of policies, strategies and plans that could help to make best use of the current population dynamics for the economic and social development.
Themed; Linking Demography to Wealth Creation, the 2nd demographic seminar 2023 held at Statistics House in Uganda’s capital between September 19 -21 ,2023 analyzed the megatrend “demographic change with the potential to capture a Demographic Dividend” and its inter-dependencies with other ongoing megatrends such as climate change, digitalization, urbanization and migration.
Addressing Journalists on the sidelines of the conference on Monday, Mr Haruna Kasolo Kyeyune the Minister of State Microfinance and Small Enterprises said achieving this demographic dividend will not only accelerate economic growth, getting the country closer to attaining middle-income status, it also has the potential to boost key social outcomes crucial to improving the daily lives of Ugandans.
Dr. Hans Groth, President of World Demographic & Ageing Forum, St. Gallen/Switzerland highlighted the demographic transition around the world, African countries and Uganda in particular. Dr. Hans underlined that Uganda must therefore invest and implement appropriate policies to initiate this transition , create an environment for a skilled and healthy future labour force in order to reap the benefits of the demographic dividend – accelerated economic growth.
While closing the seminar on Thursday, Prof Florence Mirembe, the Vice Chairperson at NPC who represented Amos Lugoloobi the State Minister for Planning under the Finance Ministry, noted that the Ugandan government launched Operation Wealth creation as an intervention to efficiently facilitate social economic transformation.
‘’With the right investment choices ,as the young population matures and the birth rate goes down, there is an extraordinary opportunity for Uganda to reap the economic and social benefits of a young , working –age population ‘’, noted Ms Mirembe.
At the closure, officials including Dr.John Ssekamatte Ssebuliba ,a population & development expert ,Mr Samuel Omwa a director at NPC, Dr Abel Nzabona of Center for Research and Dr Betty Kyadondo among others highlighted unprecedented demographic change in Uganda and its particular impact on culture, human capital, demand for education with appropriate curricula, employment, healthcare and investment opportunities.
According to Dr. Kyadondo the purpose of the seminar was to ; review and to project Uganda’s population dynamics until 2040 (population growth, youth bulge, migration, ageing, etc.) and the interdependencies with other megatrends such as climate change, urbanization, digitalization, public health, human capital development, mobility, connectivity, etc; discuss Uganda’s demographic projections and relate them to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); highlight the link between the demographic dividend and wealth creation and to discuss what is necessary to enable the whole population of Uganda to create wealth from their demographic dividend; discuss new public policy strategies based on the demographic concept of mitigation and adaptation by utilizing the knowledge gained from demographic expertise and; apply the “Demographic Dividend” approach for development strategies in Uganda until 2040.
The key elements of the seminar included; Demography as a scientific tool to develop/advance a nation; Demography and Uganda’s public policies; Demography and the 2030 Agenda (UN Sustainable Development Goals) and; Opportunities and limitations of demography for an action plan until 2040; Developing a new planning tool taking advantage of Uganda’s Demographic Dividend and the concept of mitigation and/or adaptation.
The conference featured various dignitaries including; Dr. Manuel Buchmann the Research Director World Demographic & Ageing Forum, St. Gallen/Switzerland; Dr. Martin Dahinden former Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Member of the UNICEF Advisory Group, Lecturer at the University of Zurich / Political Science; Dr. Hans Groth – President of World Demographic & Ageing Forum, St. Gallen/Switzerland; Dr. Patricia Ndugga the Head of Department, Department of Population Studies, Makerere University; Dr. Stephen Ojiambo Wandera a Lecturer, at the Department of Population Studies, Makerere University and experts from Uganda/East Africa .