Nigeria’s economy, youthful population apt for demographic dividends — UNFPA

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By Folasade Akpan

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says Nigeria being the economic engine of Africa, with its youth population, has the right modalities to harness possibilities for demographic dividends.

The Executive Director of the fund, Dr Natalia Kanem, said this on Tuesday in Abuja during her visit to the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kanem is in Abuja for the regional inauguration of the 2024 State of World Population (SWOP) report.

According to her, investing in young people is one of the biggest bonuses that a society can make.

She added that “we have a number of ideas for consideration with this government but tomorrow, we want the world platform to assert that the Africa we want is coming to fruition right here at home.

“Also, it is a sense of immense hope and possibility that brings UNFPA to want to collaborate more closely with you, alongside UNICEF and World Health Organisation and so many others who are working diligently to safeguard the health of the population.”

Kanem commended the Federal Government for putting into effect the principles of ‘leaving no one behind’ in the health sector.

She said “here, we find that the principles of leaving no one behind are being put into effect by the ministry that you coordinate.”

According to her, UNFPA focuses on young people, women, and anyone who because of sexual and reproductive health issues, being disabled or fall into any other category should not be neglected.

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On his part, Pate said it was a great moment to focus attention on the people who are the most important assets the country and the continent has.

According to him, President Bola Tinubu has been very consistent with people, being the core of his agenda.

He said “people are at the heart of his agenda. Children, women, young people, who are the drivers of the fast growth of a population, that’s the asset that we have in the long run.

“How do we invest in them, how do we harness them for the prosperity that lies in the future of our country?.

“To do that, we have to start where it all starts to the adolescent girl, to the young woman, the educated, well nourished, to have empowerment, to have the ability to control her fertility to protect it to be safe in whatever she does.

“That is the approach that we are checking and the President has given that direction.”

The minister also said that the ministry was embarking on an ambitious agenda to transform Nigeria’s health system to deliver first and foremost for women on maternal mortality and reproductive health.

While appreciating the executive director for visiting Nigeria, he said he was counting on UNFPA and other developmental partners to join in the effort to enhance the health of Nigerians.

He said he was looking forward to the inauguration of the SWOP report, as it would enable the nation to focus on doing more.

NAN reports that the SWOP Report, titled “Interwoven Lives, Threads of Hope: Ending Inequalities in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”, highlights persistent disparities faced by marginalised communities worldwide.

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The report, which will be inaugurated on Wednesday, will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, underscoring the importance of sustained investment and global solidarity. (NAN)(

Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu


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