AMMAN (Petra) — The third national forum on population and development entitled, “The demographic dividend” opened on Monday to examine means to benefit from the demographic gift the country is expected to witness in the near future.
HRH Princess Basma , who opened the two-day event on behalf of His Majesty King Abdullah, stressed the importance of the forum and the importance of learning about ways to deal with the expected demographic transformation.
Princess Basma highlighted the importance of preparations for this stage to augment its favourable impact through effecting cultural changes, developing the country’s different areas equally and working to eliminate poverty.
“We are hoping the future will bring with it the demographic gift ,” UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP/UNFPA Representative Luc Stevens said at the opening ceremony of the event, organised by the Higher Population Council (HPC), in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund and the Department of Statistics.
The demographic gift is a term used to refer to the favourable effect of falling fertility rates on the ratio of the working population to the dependent population (children and the aged), the demographic dividend is a rise in the rate of economic growth due to a rising share of working age people in a population, which countries should benefit from.
The Kingdom’s birth rate declined from 7.4 in 1976 to 3.2 in 2004, and was expected to drop further to reach 2 children per mother by 2020, according to Department of Statistics Director Ghazi Shbeikat.
Briefing the participants on the country’s population trends and demographic indicators, HPC Secretary General Zuhair Al Kayed emphasised the importance of the quality of education, health and the social infrastructure in increasing employment opportunities, reducing the unemployment rate and improving the per capita income.
The forum made use of the results of the 2004 population census to work towards ensuring the rights of every man and woman in the country, in order to benefit from the opportunity of the demographic window, during which the output per capita usually rises.
Today the participants are scheduled to examine information on the demographic gift and the best ways to make use of this opportunity.
Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit, who is chairperson of the Higher Population Council, and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Minister Suhair Al-Ali also attended the opening.