Background: Many sub-Saharan African countries are beginning to recognise that there could be potential to harness the demographic dividend (DD) from the youthful population in the continent. The DD refers to the temporary economic benefit that can potentially arise from a significant increase in the ratio of working-age adults relative to young dependents that results from fertility decline. Indeed, many countries have modeled this potential for a DD and identified actions and policies to increase the likelihood of economic renaissance. As a result of this evidence, development plans and policies are being revised to take this evidence into effect.
Objectives: This paper aims at reviewing the use of DD evidence on policy and decision making and strategic planning among government institutions, particularly in Uganda, Zambia and at the African Union (AU).
-Methods: A systematic literature review will be contacted on all policies, development plans, long term vision documents, strategic plans and other government documents in Uganda, Zambia and AU developed after 2012 when the DD was recognised as a key framework for achieving the continent’s development aspirations.
Results: An initial review of policy documents in Uganda showed that the vision 2030, and 4th national development plan are based on the DD agenda. The president, who in the past was a strong supporter of large population, has been instead advocating for a quality population with high levels of human development, thanks to evidence on DD. In Zambia, the 7th national development plan is based on the DD agenda, and the president is now a DD champion, advocating for use of evidence on DD in planning to achieve the country’s economic targets. At the AU, the DD is the theme of the 2017 summit, with focus on investments on young people, the largest population category in the continent.
Conclusions: Evidence on the potential DD is increasingly playing a key role in economic target setting and financial planning in African countries. There is, however, need for more evidence on how to implement the DD framework, and more efforts to implement these evidence-informed documents.