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Malawi launches the Population Dividend Study

Lilongwe- Malawi has launched the initial step of the study on population dividend through a modelling workshop in Lilongwe. The study to be conducted by African Institute for Development Policy, Afidep with other local experts is financed by UNFPA. Speaking during the official opening of the workshop, Ronald Mangani, Secretary to Treasury emphasized on the importance Malawi to initiate significant actions outlined in the 2013 Addis Ababa declaration on population and development in Africa beyond 2014. He recognized that Malawi's huge population of the youth can be put into good use and realize massive economic gains by understanding and applying population dividend models. "Our young people hold a great potential than can be unearthed through productive labour and the population dividend study will help to review opportunities to attain population dividend" he said.

 The modelling workshop aims to review demographic and economic opportunities and challenges as well as assessing their implications for harnessing the demographic dividend in Malawi. In addition, the workshop will also assess the magnitude of the demographic dividend that Malawi can harness under different policy scenarios and determine policy options to maximize the outcomes derived from the population dividend.

Violet Kakyomya, UNFPA Representative described the workshop as an important milestone for Malawi stressing UNFPAs commitment to support Malawi through various programmes including the population dividend study. She said through the launch of the demographic dividend study, Malawi will join a number of other countries in the region that are preparing to reap the demographic dividend by putting in place the appropriate and contextual specific policies and investments. "Large and growing populations of young people are already challenging many developing countries such as Malawi, where government capacities and resources are strained. Without appropriate investments today in youth—girls, boys, adolescents and young adults—to prepare them for the future, the challenges of meeting the needs of a growing population will become increasingly daunting" she said.

Participants to the workshop have been drawn from key Government Ministries and institutions, Academia, Civil Society, Development Partners and In-Country Experts. Participants will also review past trends and future prospects on the key demographic dividend pillars and discuss challenges and opportunities in accelerating fertility decline. The workshop will run for four days. Malawi has a young population, with 57% under the age of 18.