The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development has organised a stakeholders’ meeting on the outcome of the Second Edition of the National Transfer Account (NTA) Africa Conference held in Senegal from 27th– 28th October this year that was attended by the Director of Planning, Policy and Research in the Ministry, Dr. Sheika Bangura.
Participants at the meeting, that took place at the conference hall of the National Authorising Office on Tower Hill in Freetown, included the Ministries of Labour and Social Security, Health and Sanitation, Youth Affairs, Gender and Children’s Affairs respectively, Statistics Sierra Leone and the media.
Others are the Institute of Population and Development Studies, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, the United Nations Development Program, the International Organisation for Migration, International Labour Organisation and the National Youth Commission.
The Second Edition of the National Transfer Account (NTA) Africa Conference on inter-generational economic issues in Somone, Senegal is a platform established in 2018/19 to regularly engage researchers, policymakers and planners to discuss research output on demographic issues and implications for the socio-economic transformation of the African region.
This year’s conference was mainly focused on creating a framework to address population and sustainable development issues in Africa with a particular reference to harnessing demographic dividend potential for the continent in the context of the current global health crisis and the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The conference in Senegal brought together participants from all countries in West Africa, including researchers from the University of Kenya that is among the founders of NTA-Africa.
In Sierra Leone much has not been done in the profiling of demographic dividends, the reason for the meeting for stakeholders to discuss the key outcomes of the Second Edition of the National Transfer Account (NTA) Africa Conference with a view to deriving opportunities the conference presents for advancing the harnessing of demographic dividend for the country.
The discussions brought out suggestions to build on earlier efforts made by UNFPA, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and other stakeholders in domesticating the National Transfer Account concept to provide a comprehensive demographic dividend profile for Sierra Leone.
In his PowerPoint presentation, the Director of Planning, Policy and Research in the Ministry, Dr. Sheika Bangura enlightened that the NTA Africa is a platform established in 2018/19 to regularly engage researchers, policy-makers and planners to discuss research output on demographic issues and implications for socio-economic transformation of the African region.
The UNFPA representative, Jocalyn Fenand, revealed that three quarters of the Sierra Leone population is below the age of 35 and that more than 50% of the population is made up of women and girls intimating that UNFPA is supporting Statistics Sierra Leone to conduct the Mid-Term Census and underscored that investments must produce results.
According to the recent National Youth Summit held in Magburaka Town in the Tonkolili District saw the assembly of over 700 youths from all over the country, the first in the history of Sierra Leone reiterating that the event is a sign of progress for the country and disclosed plans for Sierra Leone to have a Youth Empowerment Fund.
He further disclosed that UNFPA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Sierra Leone for partnerships in different areas and that they are very pleased with the new arrangements affirming that investments and partnerships are key.
The Acting Director of the Institute of Population and Development Studies, Fourah Bay College, Bartholomew Bockarie, University of Sierra Leone, disclosed that they have the capacity to undertake all types of research but lamented that they lack the resources.
The representative of Statistics Sierra Leone, Sallieu Mansaray revealed plans to setup the observatory and that they would use the 2018 data for profiling of the demographic dividend and highlighted the need for advocacy and high-level media engagements that cannot be overstated.
Dr. Robert Moikowa of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development chaired the meeting while Gabriel Dumbuya of the Population Unit in the same Ministry earlier welcomed participants. The general discussions and responses climaxed the meeting.