Family planning key to demographic dividends – Devt. partners

The existing national population structure, where the working group is more than the dependent group, presents a temporary window of opportunity for the economic development of the country.
The National Population Council (NPC) and the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), however, say the development potential presented by such a structure, known as demographic dividends, will not automatically translate into sustainable development.
At the launch of a national advocacy video developed to educate the public on the critical role of family planning in national development in Accra, the heads of the institutions said the right policies, with deliberate investment in certain sectors, such as family planning, education, health and governance, were required to harness the potential presented by demographic dividends.

Demographic dividend

The United Nations Population Fund defines demographic dividend as the economic growth potential that can result when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age (14 and younger and 65 and older) share of the population.

The phenomenon is said to be a boost for economic productivity when there are growing numbers of people in the workforce relative to the number of dependents, indicating that more people have the potential to be productive and contribute to growth of the economy.

The video was produced in partnership with and the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The advocacy campaign documentary was on the theme: “Turning the wheels towards economic prosperity through investment in family planning”.
The Director-General of the NDPC, Dr Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, said there was no doubt that the country had embraced and provided leadership in family planning since the 1970s.

“But the face of family planning pursuit has changed from health and a social concern to an economic endeavour. Family planning has become a resource for which investment is required and strategic intervention needed to harness.
“One of the key potential economic gains from family planning is the demographic dividend, which is the accelerated economic that may result from rapid decline in a country’s fertility and subsequent change in the population and age structure.

“Total fertility rate increased from 4.4 children per woman, on the average, in 2003 to 4.6 in 2007 and declined to 4.2 and 3.9 in 2014 and 2017, respectively. Maternal mortality has also been dropping, since 2007, from 451 per 1,000 live births to 310 per 1,000 live births in 2017,” he said.

According to Dr Mensah-Abrampa, since 2013, the country had consciously embarked on interventions to harness its demographic dividends by making strategic investments in key areas such as health, education, economy and governance.

He said the framework was mainstreamed into the Medium–Term National Development Policy Framework of 2014-2017 and 2018-2021 for implementation.


The Executive Director of the NPC, Dr Leticia Appiah, said it was important to note that demographic dividends were not automatic but required conscious investment in family planning, education, health, economic reforms and good governance.

Although Ghana has experienced an appreciable decline in fertility since the 1980s, with fertility rate declining from 6.4 in 1988 to 4.2 in 2014 and corresponding dependency ratio, there was still room for further decline.

She said decline happened by focusing on reducing avoidable high risk pregnancies, such as those by teenagers and first-time mothers who were between 35 and 40, through family planning.

“Timely investment in family planning, nutrition, health education and governance transforms human resource to quality human capital is badly needed to reap demographic dividends,” the executive director added.

The UNFPA Country Representative, Mr Niyi Ojuolape, said both young people and declining fertility had the potential to reap the demographic dividends.

Date: Feb – 22 – 2021 , BY: Doreen Andoh

NPC launches advocacy documentary

The National Population Council (NPC) in partnership with the Population Reference Bureau with support from USAID have launched an advocacy video documentary on Ghana’s demographic dividend to speed up development.

The launch of the documentary which is on the theme “Turning the wheels towards economic prosperity through investment in family planning” took place yesterday February 18, 2021 in Accra.

Dr. Leticia Appiah, the Executive Director of NPC, during the launch of the video stressed that reaping the demographic dividend is not automatic but requires conscious investment in family planning, education, health, economic reforms and good governance.

Explaining the demographic dividend as accelerated economic growth that a country can experience as a result of the changes in population age structure, Dr Appiah said, the Council believes that through sustained high-level advocacy and sensitization, the importance of reaping the demographic dividend will become a national priority among policy makers, political and national leaders to bring about the increased commitment to investment in quality human capital including family planning, nutrition, health and education, economic growth and good governance that will help Ghana attain the demographic dividend.

The Executive Director was of the view that though Ghana has experienced an appreciable decline in fertility since the 1980s with fertility rate declining from 6.4 in 1988 to 4.2 in 2014 and corresponding dependency ratio, there is still room for further decline by focusing on reducing avoidable high-risk pregnancies. She added that mortality and morbidity risk to mother and infant are higher if mother is below 18years, birth intervals less than two years, birth order four or higher and women older than 35/40 at first birth.
According to the maternal health survey 2017, 49% of births were in at least one avoidable high-risk pregnancy and as much as 17% of birth were in multiply avoidable high-risk categories.

“This shows that even though fertility is steadily declining, focus should be on disaggregated data for programme implementation” she stressed.”

She noted that the advocacy video complements the efforts already undertaken towards harnessing the demographic dividend and is also a call for sustained action on the part of all relevant stakeholders towards meaningful impact at scale.

“The demographic window of opportunity is opening for Ghana and we need to become braver, stronger and bolder champions of population and development now more than ever.” She urged.”

“We need to seize the opportunity by investing in the key sectors of family planning, nutrition, health, education and skills development, the economy and good governance,” said Dr. Appiah. adding that “The window of opportunity closes when the opportunity is not utilized.”

According to the Executive Director of Irbard Security Consult, Irbard Ibrahim, Ghana’s burgeoning population provides b ad news for labour but an even worse one for national security fi the right policies are not put in place to mange population growth and cushion the youth demographic bulge.

“What is even the essence of labour if it not skilled? These growing questions give security sector actors like us a cause for concern,” he asked.”

Ibrahim recommended a consistent and regular engagement between national security and the NPC so that both outfits can exchange notes and experiences not only on the phenomenon of child ‘streetism’ but also the wider population issues of port parenting, early and forced marriage, unp0lanned childbirth, poor education and a dangerously unaddressed youth bulge.

February 19, 2021, By: Kofi Ahovi