The Eighteenth Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa
UN system Support to Harnessing Demographic Dividend through investments in the Youth
Saturday, March 25, 2017 to Sunday, March 26, 2017
Dakar, Senegal

In line with the spirit of the 2016 United Nations Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), for the first time, part of the 18th Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa) will be held jointly with the Regional United Nations Development Group.  The 18th Session RCM-Africa will be held in Dakar from the 25th to the 26th of March 2016 and the theme for this year is “UN system Support to Harnessing Demographic Dividend through investments in the Youth”.  The Session will be held “back-to-back” with the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development which will also be hosted by the Government of Senegal at the King Fahd Hotel, Dakar, Senegal, from 23 to 28 March 2017.  The theme of the Ministerial Conference is “Growth, Inequality and Unemployment”. The theme is also aligned to the African Union theme for 2017. 

Africa’s youth represents a significant asset for sustainable growth if properly harnessed.  Declines in infant mortality and longer life expectancy are contributing to an increase both in the overall population and, more importantly, in the share of the population that is of working age. Studies indicate that Africa will account for 3.2 billion of the projected 4 billion increase in the global population by 2100. The same studies also point to Africa's working age population, particularly the youth, rising by 2.1 billion over the period, compared to a net global increase of 2 billion. Furthermore, with mortality tumbling and fertility rates higher than in developed countries, Africa’s share of the working age population is expected to also increase from about 54 percent in 2010 to peak at about 64 percent in 2090.  The demographic transition will be significant for Africa as its share of the global working age population is expected to rise from 12.6 percent in 2010 to over 41 percent by 2100 and therefore support the structural transformation Africa's economies have embarked upon.

 Sessions of RCM-Africa present an opportunity for the United Nations system and the African Union to dialogue on ways of advancing Africa's development agenda. Active collaboration will help sharpen the focus on strategies to speed up the demographic transition, and create conducive conditions for harnessing the demographic dividend, including the development of frameworks for increased active and productive participation of the youth in economic activities.

In addition to the reflections on the theme, participants at the eighteenth session will also deliberate on strategies for strengthening the collaboration between all the partners involved in RCM-Africa.  The eighteenth session will also discuss the implementation of the renewed framework of United Nations-African Union Partnership on Africa’s Integration and Development Agenda (PAIDA).  Furthermore, the session will consider the work programme of the RCM-Africa for 2017 and 2018, ensuring that the new clusters are appropriately aligned to support the implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The session is expected to result in the following outcomes:

(a)         Consensus on the United Nations support to the African Union on harnessing the demographic dividends;

(b)        Consensus on a framework of collaboration between all partners in the RCM-Africa, including the UNDG;

(c)         Consensus on a mechanism for implementing the framework on United Nations-African Union partnership on Africa’s integration and development agenda (PAIDA);

(d)        Consensus on the biennium work programme of RCM-Africa and its new clusters for 2017 and 2018;

The alignment of the RCM-Africa to the Ministerial Conference allows the UN Deputy Secretary General, who is also the co-Chair of RCM-Africa, and the senior UN officials to engage directly with Ministers responsible for finance, planning and economic development on pertinent issues related to Africa’s development agenda.  Participants will include the heads and senior officials Organizations and Agencies of the United Nations system working in support of the African Union including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund; African Union Commission, African Development Bank, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, African Peer Review Mechanism Secretariat and other regional economic communities including bilateral organizations are also welcome.

For more information please contact Ms. Rawda Omar-Clinton (romar-clinton@uneca.org) and Ms. Nadia El-Hakim (nadineh@Africa-union.org