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Africa's population of young people between the ages of 10-24 is estimated at 370 million. By 2070, it is estimated that the continent will have over 1 billion working age youth and over 800 million children. If the right human capital investments are made in Africa's youth, including quality education, decent employment, effective livelihood skills, and access to health, including sexual and reproductive health, then countries across the continent can potentially see an increase in GDP and per capita income. This is known as the demographic dividend, which occurs as fertility and mortality rates start to fall, leading to a larger working age population and huge potential for economic growth. Dr. Julitta Onabanjo talks about the importance of investing in young people, and outlines strategies that countries can employ to reap the demographic dividend and achieve sustainable development.

Dr. Onabanjo is Regional Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), East and Southern Africa. She studied medicine at the University of Zambia, has a Bachelor degree in biology from the University of London and a Master’s of Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr Onabanjo has always had the desire to help people and has a passion for young people and helping them reach their potential and make contributions to their communities. This is clearly reflected in her work to fight child marriage in Africa, and other important programmes administered by UNPFA.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.