Africa

Ethiopia needs demographic bonus to dividend shift

Country needs international assistance to curb negative consequences of demographic bonus, new study finds

Seleshi Tessema Mulata   | 28.03.2019
Ethiopia needs demographic bonus to dividend shift

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia 

Ethiopia faces daunting challenges transforming growth opportunities of a young working population, aged 18- 25, to a force capable of spurring development, according to a new study Thursday. 

Financed by Germany and Austria and conducted by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development, the study said young people have been growing faster than the 100 million population as a whole.

The country is headed to a “demographic bonus which in many other countries worldwide paved the way to more growth and prosperity,” the study said. “Like the Asian tiger states before it, Ethiopia could benefit from its demographic dividend.”

Investment in health, education and improvement in living conditions and the rapid decline of fertility in the last two decades have created optimism of further development, it added.

It warned, however, if not properly managed, the demographic change could trigger far reaching consequences. 

“Despite all its achievements … the expansion of basic infrastructure has barely been able to keep up with the population growth and the number people of working age is still growing faster than number of jobs.”

Addressing a gathering of a review forum, Germany’s ambassador to Ethiopia said the African country needs to harness the opportunities of the young population by investing in all sectors of development.

“If not properly managed, social unrest and mass migration could take place,” Brita Wagner added.

Ethiopia must be assisted by the international community to curb the negative consequences of demographic bonus, according to the study.

“If Ethiopia fails, the stability of the entire region in the Horn of Africa will endangered,” it said.

Nearly 70 percent of the Ethiopian population are young people of working age.

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