Population Dynamics and Demographic Dividend

Stakeholders, including government officials and the Department for International Development is a United Kingdom (DFID) representatives, at the Nairobi launch of the East African Regional Analysis of Youth Demographics study report in June 2018. The report was thereafter launched in 3 other East African countries: Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Photo: Evans Chumo/AFIDEP
© Evandro Sudré/Flickr
© Evandro Sudré/Flickr
© Rory Mizen/Flickr

Population issues are central to most of Africa’s challenges and therefore, population dynamics is a major cross-cutting factor in achieving majority of the SDGs.

Similarly, in the Demographic Dividend framework, achieving a population age-structure which has more economically productive people relative to dependents is a necessary pre-condition for harnessing the demographic dividend.

Our work on population dynamics focuses on the drivers of rapid population growth, especially high fertility, the status of women, unmet need for contraception, youth demographics, early childbearing and migration.

Our work has stimulated unprecedented interest to address population and development issues across Africa:

  • AFIDEP supported the office of the President of Malawi and the African Union (AU) to designate demographic dividend as the AU 2017 development theme.
  • We have supported 13 African countries to develop awareness and policy options for harnessing the demographic dividend. Most of these countries are integrating it in their national development plans.
  • Nine countries have integrated demographic dividend evidence and recommendations in their population policies and national development plans.
  • AFIDEP work has contributed to positioning population dynamics and the demographic dividend as a key development priority for Africa for various development partners including: DFID, GIZ, NORAD, UN agencies, USAID and World Bank.

Under the strengthening evidence for action and accountability on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) for young people in Eastern and Southern Africa project, AFIDEP contributed to:

  • Formulation of 2015 Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) policy in Kenya, which prioritised comprehensive sexuality education and contraceptive services for all adolescents
  • Formulation of the 2015 Youth Friendly Health Services (YFS) standards in Malawi
  • Adoption of a new Marriage Act in Malawi that raised the legal age of marriage from 15 years (with parental consent) to 18 years
  • Improvement of availability of relevant data for decision-making through the development and integration of ASRH indicators in the District Health Information Systems (DHIS) in Kenya and Malawi

Current Projects

January 2014 to Present

The Demographic Dividend project sought to support evidence generation and policy engagement to enhance government commitment to addressing population challenges and foster inclusive socioeconomic development using the demographic dividend paradigm.

December 2019 to Present

With support from UNFPA Malawi, AFIDEP will produce a series of position papers on the implication of Malawi’s population dynamics on critical areas of development: poverty, transformational education and skills development, private sector development and job creation, environment and governance.

February 2020 to Present

This project seeks to highlight the disparities in urban contraceptive, identify existing policy gaps and demonstrate the importance of family planning to sustainable urbanisation in Malawi.

June 2018 to Present

The aim of the Policy Communication Fellows Programme is to develop the next generation of leaders from the less developed world regions who will shape policy in their countries, regionally and globally. The programme is jointly hosted by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) and the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP).

July 2020 to Present

Advancing our understanding of the true prevalence of traditional methods of contraception in four African countries as well as women’s motivations for using these methods.

May 2021 to Present

The BUILD program (Building Capacity for Integrated Family Planning/Reproductive Health and Population, Environment and Development Action) seeks to achieve strong political commitment, sustained financial resources and accountability for voluntary family planning and reproductive health.


BUILD is a 5-year program.

March 2022 to Present

The Exemplars in Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASHER) project seeks to identify countries that have made exemplary progress in reducing adolescent fertility rates/teenage pregnancies compared to their counterparts.

to Present

To strengthen the capacity of African population scientists to address population and development issues in Africa

Past Projects

January 2017 to June 2018

The study analysed the youth demographics in the East Africa Community (EAC) region and how this bears on ongoing demographic changes on the African continent which is characterised by declining fertility, child mortality and rapid population growth.

December 2013 to March 2017

The Strengthening Use of Research Evidence for Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (enSURE Adolescent and Youth SRH) project sought to increase the use of evidence in decision-making processes to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in Kenya.

September 2021 to May 2023

The Botswana Demographic Dividend project aimed to develop a Roadmap for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MFED) to guide the implementation of the Botswana DD Study recommendations.

This project was completed in May 2023 and it was a successor project for the demographic divided modelling report that was completed in 2018. The report had key recommendations that the roadmap sought to provide an implementation framework:

The Botswana DD project was able to put the DD on the radar of Botswana’s Demographic dividend landscape to inform the government’s development planning framework. The government received the demographic-divided roadmap report which was developed through a stakeholder-based process. The roadmap will be used as a guide for Botswana’s planning and implementation framework. It is envisaged that the Demographic divided dashboard that was developed under the project will contribute towards steps to establish projects monitoring and performance framework for the country. The dashboard will not be a stand-alone system, rather, it is expected to be embedded into the integrated Development Projects Monitoring System (DPMS)for the country.



October 2020 to November 2020

Under the leadership of South Africa’s Department of Social Development and Stats SA, we are pleased to host a seminar series in October and November 2020, titled Demography and COVID-19 in Africa – Evidence and Policy Responses to Safeguard the Demographic Dividend. 


Find all the resources from the webinar series here:



Click a webinar for more information:

  1. WEBINAR 1 – Oct 21: The demographic impact of COVID-19: global, regional and national experiences
  2. WEBINAR 2 – Oct 28: An exploration of evidence-based service delivery in the times of COVID-19
  3. WEBINAR 3 – Nov 4: South Africa’s Social and Economic Programmes to Harness the Demographic Dividend
  4. WEBINAR 4 – Nov 11: The Impact of COVID-19 on the African Continent’s Prospects of Harnessing a Demographic Dividend
  5. WEBINAR 5 – Nov 25: WRAP UP SESSION – Series Synthesis and Policy Options

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