The Demographic Transition, Youth Potential and Development Nexus in Ethiopia: Dividend or Burden?

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Addis Ababa University


The thes is addresses the demographic tran si tion potential in Ethiopia and the poss ibility of capturi ng the demographic di vidend observed in some East Asian COllntri es. as well as. suggests mechan isms to facilitate this possible opportunit y. It is based on the " Spectrum" Projection Model covering the period from 1994 to 2050. The age structure of the Ethiopian popu lation has remained chi ld and youth dominated for along time now. but wi th recent incipient ferti lity decline ex pected to be expedi ting. Ethiopia's demographic profile wi ll see considerable shift in the nex t four decades.Education and employment indicators witness that despite striking improvements in primary educat ion and modest decline in unemployment rate past years. there is still huge unemploymcnt rate and low secondary school enrollment. as well as. wide gender disparity in both secondary educa tion and formal employment. Proj ecti ons under three different fertility scenarios re veal that fertility plays multiple roles in boosting Ethiopia to rcap the clemographic di vidend through; reduci ng population size. changing the age structure and raising the sta tus of womCn. Thus it will determine Ethiopia's future development coursc including its prospects of joining Middle Income Countri es. This requires the government to allocate more funds for family planning sen'ice provision and diffu sion of small family norm in its development strategy as well as establi shing quality institution including evalu ati ng the old population poli cy of Ethiopia.Nonethelcss. the demographic dividend is not au tomati c. nor does the window of opportu nity lasts forever. l-lence it can be reaped if pol icics and programs in countries at the incipient stages of the demographic transition are focused on the needs, aspi rations and expectations for a growing bulge of young people. These preconditions. among ot hers. include training and job crea tion for YOll th. quality and elTicient educational ~ys le lll . agri cu ltural moderni zation and intensifica tion. labor intensive production technology. healthier li fes tyles, and institutional development s. Under business as usual scenario. however, the future is bleak and the youth would turn out to be given up burdens rather than grown up dividend.



Demographic Transition,, Youth Potential