Harnessing the Ethiopian youth potentials for sustainable development

Africa should re-invent its education system – Dr. Ismail Serageldin

H.E. Dr.-Ing. Getahun Mekuria


The Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS) held its 3rd Science Congress on “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend: Ethiopia’s Emerging Challenge” from December 07 - 08, 2017 at the Conference Hall of Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritages (ARCCH), Addis Ababa Ethiopia.

The honourable guest and Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology, H.E. Dr. Engineer Getahun Mekuria officially opened the Congress. In his speech, the Minister mentioned that Ethiopia has made a significant stride towards ensuring sustainable development and employment to youths in all sectors. He also noted that, “the Congress theme, the demographic dividend, stands relevant to the  post-2015  sustainable  development  goals,  the  Common  African  Position  (CAP)  on  Post-2015 Development Agenda, Agenda 2063 of Africa and the Ethiopian government’s Growth and Transformation Plans (GTP I & II).” The Minister stressed that contextualized discussion on the demographic dividend in Ethiopia is, therefore, timely and critical for understanding how Ethiopia can address the needs of its expanding working-age population. The Minister lauded EAS’s commitment and contribution to generating and providing evidence-based policy solutions to timely issues of national importance including the demographic dividend

Dr. Ismail  Serageldin
Dr. Ismail  Serageldin

Dr. Ismail  Serageldin, a  Founding  Director of  the  Bibliotheca  Alexandrina  (BA), gave the keynote address on Africa’s challenge of harnessing the potential of its youth. In his speech, Dr. Serageldin noted that for Africa to harness the demographic dividend, it must re-invent its education bearing in mind a global economy that will continuously be shaped by a technological revolution.  Dr. Serageldin emphasized that “the policies that have worked well in the past are not necessarily the best to confront the challenges of tomorrow…” and Africa should rethink the content, method, participants, and organizational settings of its education system to go beyond job creation and “retain people in a life-long quest to modernize (our) economies”.

Eminent scholars from and outside of Ethiopia presented on various sub-themes of the Congress: population and development; health and the demographic dividend; quality education and skills development; youth employment, and gender dynamics of the demographic dividend. The Congress also featured two roundtables on international experiences pertinent to the demographic dividend and youth empowerment. In the roundtable discussions, experts affirmed that age transformation in Ethiopia is expected to open a window of opportunity to harvest the dividend between 2040 and 2075. For Ethiopia to seize the window of opportunity, the need to swiftly ensure adequate investment in health, quality education and skills development, and gender equality was emphasized throughout the Congress. The central role of governance in fostering an enabling environment for the demographic dividend was also reiterated by speakers and participants. In the second roundtable session, Hallelujah Lulie, a young regional security researcher, argued that youth governance has to be taken earnestly than governing the youth, and called for  ‘balancing inclusivity and far-sightedness’ to empower the Ethiopian youth to harness an equitable dividend.

Wro Zenebework Tadesse,  Principal Vice President of the EAS
Wro Zenebework Tadesse,  Principal Vice President of the EAS

The Congress culminated in a Declaration which was collectively issued by participants. The Congress was concluded with remarks from W/ro Zenebework Tadesse, EAS’s Principal Vice President, who called for an inclusive and focused synergy to bring about a better future for Ethiopia and beyond.

Click HERE to access PPT presentations of the Congress.

For more Pictures of the event: Picture Gallery of Ethiopian Academy of Sciences (EAS)  3rd Science Congress