By Abdulai Haruna/Josephine Dodoo, GNA
Accra, Feb.19, GNA – Mrs Leticia A. Appiah, the Executive Director, National Population Council (NPC), says harnessing Ghana’s demographic dividend will speed up development and economic prosperity.
She explained demographic dividend as the accelerated economic growth that a country could experience as a result of changes in population age structure, and that family planning was crucial to achieving that.
Mrs Appiah said this at the launch of a Documentary by NPC/Population Reference Bureau dubbed: “Turning the Wheels Towards Economic Prosperity Through Investment in Family Planning.”
She said the documentary was to further enlighten the Ghanaian public on the need for family planning, which could ensure time and spacing of birth to prevent increase in mortality.
The NPC Boss said through sustained high-level advocacy and sensitisation, the importance of reaping the demographic dividend would become a national priority among policymakers, political, and traditional leaders.
This will bring about an increased commitment to investment in quality human capital (family planning, nutrition, health and education), economic growth and good governance.
Mrs Appiah said demographic dividend was not automatic and that it required conscious investment in family planning, education, health, economic reforms, and good governance.
Ghana had experienced an appreciable decline in fertility rates since the 1980’s from 6.4 in 1988 to 4.2 in 2014 with a corresponding dependency ratio, she said.
“There is still room for further decline by focusing on reducing avoidable high-risk pregnancies,” she added.
Mrs Appiah said there had been growing support for harnessing the demographic dividends among African governments and, in response to that, Ghana had already taken steps towards harnessing hers through developing the Demographic Dividends Framework in 2016.
Mr. Kodjo Esseim Mensah-Abrampa, the Director General of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), said the face of family planning pursuits had changed from a health and social concern to an economic endeavour.
He added that family planning had become a resource for which investment was required and a strategic intervention pursued to harness the dividend for accelerated economic growth.
He said the NDPC was undertaking an evaluation of the achievements Ghana had made so far in harnessing demographic dividend, hence the establishment of a youth engagement platform and a data observatory to support tracking of results.
Mr. Mensah-Abrampa said the objective was to promote sustained, all inclusive, transparent, accountable and participatory democratic governance with respect to fundamental human rights of all people without discrimination.
He said every individual was important, and it was not just the number of individuals but rather the quality, thus, birth spacing was important as every child would be well brought up and be useful to the community and the country.
Mr Mensah-Abrampa said the window of opportunity for harnessing a demographic dividend was open when a country’s dependency ratio declined below 60 dependents per 100 working-age adults and total fertility rate was around three.
Mr. Niyi Ojuolape, the Country Representative, United Nation Population Fund, said the main objective of the Fund was to educate the youth on family planning.
“If Ghana strengthens and combines investments in the economy, education, and, especially, in family planning, population is expected to decrease slowly in an optimum manner over time for the country to achieve growth through demographic dividend,” he said.