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Kenya hosts first China-Africa population conference

Xinhua, April 21, 2017 Adjust font size:

Kenya has this week hosted the first China-Africa Conference on Population and Development, where views were exchanged on harnessing demographic dividend by investing in youth and enacting good policies.

At the conference, experts from China informed about the Chinese experiences of demographic transition and harnessing demographic dividend for social and economic development, with an emphasis on human capital, education and skill development as well as health transition.

Julitta Onabanjo, regional director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) East and South Africa Regional Office, noted that African countries still have a very youthful population, where young people below age 15 represent 41 percent of total population and those below 30 represent 70 percent.

"The total fertility rate is as high as 4.5 with high teenage pregnancy," Onabanjo said, highlighting the need to prioritize actions to harness the demographic dividends, including via committed national efforts to invest in young people and disciplined implementation of population policy, human resources development to address issues of fertility transition.

Babatunde Ahonsi, UNFPA Representative in China, highlighted opportunities for China-Africa cooperation on demographic dividend.

He shared China's best practices and experiences in four areas of population and development, namely employment and entrepreneurship, education and skill development, health and well-being, and rights, governance and youth empowerment.

Ahonsi proposed policy dialogue platform, technical cooperation focusing on transfers of know-how and capacity development exchange, tailored program assistance and institutional collaboration as the way forward between China and African countries.

The conference's theme was "Harnessing a Demographic Dividend in Africa", echoing the priority theme of the year 2017 set by the Africa Union Assembly.

The event was jointly organized by the China Population and Development Research Center (CPDRC) under the National Health and Family Planning Commission and Kenya's National Council for Population and Development (NCPD), with support from the UNFPA.

It brought together high-level government officials as well as top experts in the field of population and development from African countries and China, representatives from the African Union, UNFPA and other international organizations.

The conference represents a significant step towards fulfilling one of the important commitments of the "Beijing Call for Action," a roadmap adopted at the Strategic Ministerial Dialogue on South-South Cooperation in Population and Development, jointly convened in March 2016 by the Chinese government, UNFPA and the Partners in Population and Development.

The China-Africa Conference on Population and Development will be institutionalized on an annual basis to promote exchanges of views and experiences between China and African countries on population and development. China will host the second one in 2018. Endit