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Africa has a large youthful population. In 2015, 19 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion youth population aged 15-24 years lived in Africa. By 2030, this youth population of 226 million in Africa is projected to grow by 42 percent. This fast-growing population positions African countries to be able to harness a demographic dividend. The demographic dividend (DD) is the accelerated economic growth resulting from improved reproductive health, a rapid decline in fertility, and the subsequent upward shift in population age structure. More people in the labor force with fewer children to support can provide countries with a window of opportunity for accelerated economic growth. While some African countries are making progress with regard to policies and implementation related to the demographic dividend, others continue to struggle with elevating the issue as a policy priority.

In this paired paper and policy brief, Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding Diana Warira examines the role of science communication in policymaking for the demographic dividend. She provides policy recommendations on how demographic dividend researchers and development experts, and African governments and policymakers can foster more effective communications between researchers and policymakers, as well as better facilitate the uptake of evidence-informed research to policymakers. 

About the Author

Diana Warira

Diana Warira

Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding Scholar;
Communications Officer, African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP)
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Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more