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SWEDD project steering committee sets agenda for advancing demographic growth in Africa

Africanews   -  
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The Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD)

In a gathering spanning four days in the heart of Burkina Faso's capital, the annual steering committee of the SWEDD (Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend) project concluded with a resolute vision for the upcoming year. Led under the watchful eye of Burkina Faso's Prime Minister, Apollinaire Joachim Kyélem de Tambèla, the deliberations charted a course aimed at harnessing the demographic potential of the region.

The SWEDD project, which initially encompassed six nations, has now expanded its reach to include a total of 12 countries. This collaborative effort sets its sights on a shared goal: leveraging the burgeoning population, estimated at 200 million inhabitants in 2022, to position Africa as a pivotal engine of global demographic growth. Forecasts predict a substantial rise, with projections indicating a population surge to 285 million by 2035, and a staggering 405 million by 2050.

Addressing the gathering, Robert Kargougou, Burkina Faso's Minister of Health, underscored the significance of this demographic shift. He emphasized the prevalence of youth and women within the demographic landscape of SWEDD countries, presenting both a reservoir of potential and a call to action. Kargougou articulated the imperative of investing in these demographic segments, particularly through robust educational initiatives and comprehensive healthcare services.

"The countries of the SWEDD will contribute to making Africa the primary locomotive of global demographic growth," remarked Minister Kargougou. "The demographic profile of SWEDD countries reveals a predominance of youth and women. This presents both an asset and a challenge depending on the decisions and policies to be implemented."

Recognizing the pivotal role of women and young girls in driving societal progress, Kargougou advocated for intensified efforts in nurturing their potential. He stressed that empowering women through education, healthcare, and socio-economic opportunities would not only catalyze development but also pave the way for a more prosperous and equitable future.

In a strategic move on the political front, the committee designated the new leadership tasked with spearheading SWEDD initiatives across Burkina Faso and its partner nations. Burkina Faso assumes the Presidency, signaling its commitment to driving the project's agenda forward. Meanwhile, Benin steps into the role of Vice Presidency, aligning itself with the collective pursuit of advancing demographic dividends in the region.