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Eswatini launches the national Demographic Dividend Study Report to empower young people

22 March 2018

Honourable Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Prince Hlangusempi launching the Demographic Dividend report together with the UNFPA Assistant Representative, Ms. Margaret Thwala-Tembe ©UNFPA 2017

“Eswatini, with its ever increasing numbers of youth people, has the potential to harness the demographic dividend and to improve the socio-economic status of its people. -. The Demographic Dividend study report is an eye-opener to the development community, including government on what to invest and to who to direct that investment. It is an important advocacy tool for advancing our course as young people and for making the case that young people are the centerpiece of the development process and the right path to vision 2022 and to the attainment of the SDGs.  This piece of evidence demonstrates government’s willingness to improve our welfare and to makes us realise that we too, have a role to play in the development of our country”, said Zethu Matsebula,27, a young woman activist of Mbikwakhe, a rural area in the outskirts of Manzini, the business hub of Swaziland.

 

Her opinion on the demographic dividend follows the launch of the National Demographic Dividend Study Report by the Honorable Minister of Economic Planning & Development Prince Hlangusempi.

 

Making his keynote address, the Minister noted that Swaziland’s population age structure had transformed enough and that the time was right for Swaziland to harness its demographic dividend. “The working age population increased from 46 percent in 1976 to 59 percent in 2017 and it is expected to reach 62 percent by 2022”, he said. However, the Minister noted that reaping the demographic dividend was not automatic, but a process that required “strategic investments in health, education, employment and governance especially for young people”. He implored all stakeholders particularly the Ministries of Sports Culture and Youth Affairs, Education, and Training, Health, Commerce and Trade and the private sector to support investment programmes to empower young people and women.

Also speaking at the event was UNFPA Assistant Representative, Ms. Margaret Thwala-Tembe, who echoed the Minister’s sentiments and highlighted that “young people hold the potential to spur the continent to spectacular economic growth and to contribute to a prosperous and peaceful Africa and in advancing Africa towards the Africa we want”. She further mentioned that young people have the potential to move Swaziland towards vision 2022 and to the first world status including 2030 agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals. She expressed UNFPA’s desire to have the recommendations of the Demographic Dividend Study integrated into the national planning system.