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What it is-

The demographic dividend is the difference between the number of working-age-population aged 15-64 years and the number of non-working-age-population under 14 years of age and above 65 years of age. That is, if the number of working people is greater than the number of non-working people, then it is a demographic dividend . This refers to “the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population is larger than the non-working-age share of the population,” as defined by the United Nations Population Fund.

This provides a one-time “demographic window of opportunity” before the dependency ratio rises again with the growth of the elderly population; This one-time demographic window of opportunity will actually lead to a “demographic dividend”.

Benefits-

There are four benefits to a demographic dividend: 

1. Improving labor supply, 

2. Growth of savings 

3. Human capital and 

4. Domestic market expansion. 

These four benefits can be ensured if this functional youth force can be harnessed. This demographic dividend period lasts a maximum of 20-30 years in a country.

Demographic Dividend &  Bangladesh-

Bangladesh has a fairly young population with 34 percent aged 15 and younger and just five percent aged 65 and older. At present, more than 65 percent of our population is of working age, between 15 and 64.The number of working people in Bangladesh is now 106.1 million (10 crore 61 lakh). Of this, the actual labor force is 62.1 million (59.5 million working in the public and private sectors, the remaining 2.6 million are still fully unemployed, and 44.0 million are completely unemployed).

It all depends on how much a country invests in key areas like education, health and nutrition, infrastructure, good governance, etc., and whether or not there is an environment suitable for young people so that they are able to contribute to the country’s socio-economic growth.

According to analysts, currently Bangladesh is passing through the phase of demographic dividend that emerged in 2007. At present, we are at the midway point of the dividend period. So a good question to ask is, how has this demographic dividend transformed Bangladesh today and how will it transform Bangladesh tomorrow?

What to do next-

As mentioned earlier, this demographic dividend is not guaranteed or automatic—dividend comes of use when jobs are created, and when young people join the workforce. Therefore, if we want to reap the full benefits of the demographic dividend, we need to act fast because demographic dividend is a one-time short-lived phenomenon that usually continues for 30 to 35 years, and by 2045 to 2060, this window of opportunity to accelerate economic growth will start to disappear.

So before time runs out, we must act to prepare our young people for the future world of work. Since most new jobs that will be created in the future will be highly skilled, we need to revamp our education system to make it more suitable to the changing times. Alongside that, we must invest much more in education, health and nutrition, infrastructure, and adopt an expansionary economic policy and create a favorable environment for local and foreign investment, so that we can increase production, productivity and consequent employment opportunities for the future workforce. If we succeed, we will ensure the prosperity of our people. And if we fail, our “demographic dividend” can turn into a “demographic disaster.”

Therefore, it is time to formulate a roadmap for investment by designing a development curriculum. Then we have to formulate long, medium and short term plans for the successful implementation of the roadmap. In this context, it can be said that at present, rapid investment is required in various sectors including information and communication technology sector, light engineering sector, tourism and hospitality, agriculture and service industries. If this functional youth group of the country can be trained in these sectors through long-term planned training, then these trained youth groups will be able to establish their position in the country and in the international arena. And in the near future, Bangladesh will be a middle-income country and will be far ahead in the list of developed countries in 2041.

It will turn into a demographic dividend only if the country invests heavily now especially for the adolescents and youth in the below sectors in priority basis-

  1. Health, 
  2. Education, 
  3. Skills development and
  4. Employment generation, 

Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment is another key component that requires special attention in Bangladesh.

Where do we Stand-

Bangladesh is recognized globally for its remarkable track record of socio-economic development and potential for becoming an economic powerhouse in the region. The economy has sustained impressive economic growth over the past three decades and the country met the Millennium Development Goals ahead of time. Progress in human development, education, and health has been equally impressive with both the private and public sector playing important roles. Moving forward, we aspire to attain upper middle-income status by 2031.

To achieve our goal we need to capture the demographic dividend by implementing effective economic and social policies and to recognize the linkages between demographic factors and poverty reduction. The government has to put in place policies in areas such as health, education, labor market, and job creation, to harness the economic power of the youth bulge. Capturing the demographic dividend will not only contribute to economic growth but will also facilitate poverty reduction

To do this we need to create jobs and employment opportunities through a competitive business environment, increased human capital and skilled labor force, efficient infrastructure, and a policy environment that attracts private investments.

Now is the time to expedite and follow the target set for both sectors with the right facts and figures. Same time, we need to encourage private sector skill development partners, institutes or skill providers, Professional education providers, Work integrated education providers and Talent management organizations to contribute more with different arrangements. 

Credit must be given to government bodies such as NSDA ( National Skills Development Authority) Bangladesh, SEIP(Skills for Employment Investment Program) ICT, A2I, STEP, BMET and many others for taking various initiatives in training and retraining the youth and equipping them with the necessary skills and accreditations to earn a decent standard of living as well as serving the nation. 

At the same time the private sector institutes and centers of learning such as LCBS Dhaka ( www.lcbsdhaka.com ), Skill Bangladesh (www.skillbangladesh.com.bd), BSDI, Creative IT, Coders Trust, BTM etc. have come forward working hand in hand with the public sector to meet the government’s goal. 

However, at the end of the day, it is the youth that has to come forward and make informed decisions so that they can benefit from the public and private sector initiatives. As the 4IR(fourth industrial revolution) is upon us, the skills for the future must be readied now so that the initiatives can have a fruitful outcome and the demographic dividend can be benefitted from.

Source-https://www.thedailystar.net/lifestyle/perspective/news/demographic-dividend-could-turn-demographic-disaster-1709272, https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/views/demographic-dividend-a-roadmap-to-progress-1600268169, https://bangladesh.unfpa.org/en/topics/demographic-dividend-1

https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/views/demographic-dividend-a-roadmap-to-progress-1600268169

Skillbangladesh

Author Since: February 17, 2022

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