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The 4th National Conference on Population and Development was conducted between 27 and 28 October in Bahir Dar, capital of the Amhara Regional State. The conference was held under the theme Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth. The conference which is organized every two years has the general objective of bringing together experts on population and development, reproductive health and related areas from various sectors to exchange research findings in the field.

Speaking at the conference, H.E. Dr. Yinager Dessie, Commissioner of the National Planning Commission with the rank of Minister, stated that population was a multi-sectoral issue which is part and parcel of the country’s development agenda and with a key contribution to the development endeavors of the country. He noted that the country could only reap the demographic dividend it invested in making its population productive. He added that population would be one of the major factors to be taken into account in developing the 15-year development plan of Ethiopia and that the Government was keen in mobilizing development partners to work more on population issues.

Mr. Rakoto Victor, Deputy Representative of UNFPA, said in his remarks delivered at the conference that
as a result of the tremendous work on maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, and family planning and robust investments in the health sector over the past decade, the country had been able to register a decline in fertility and witnessing a change in its demographic architecture. “A further focus on Ethiopia’s young population through sustained investments in voluntary family planning, health, education, employment and economic policies will guide the country towards reaping the demographic dividend,” he indicated.   

A number of presentation on various thematic areas on population and development were made in the two-day conference by representatives of governmental and not governmental organizations, the academia, researchers, and the private sector.

Development partners which technically and financially supported the organization of the conference were handed prizes by the Commissioner of the National Planning Commission at the conclusion of the conference.