Myanmar urged to tap potential of 2035 ‘demographic dividend’: UN Population Fund

Ramanathan Balakrishnan, UNFPA representative for Myanmar, talks to The Myanmar Times. Thiri Lu/The Myanmar Times

NAYPYIDAW, Apr 9, 2019, Myanmar Times. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has urged the government to take advantage of the “demographic dividend” to ensure the development of the country, noting that in less than 20 years, 67 percent of its population will be of working age. The UN agency said that only 33pc of people will be categorised as dependents by 2035, reported the Myanmar Times.

“So that’s a significant turning point for Myanmar,” Ramanathan Balakrishnan, UNFPA’s representative for Myanmar, said.

He added that Myanmar is at the threshold of a demographic dividend, which could be used to significantly boost the economic growth of the country.

The agency said that Myanmar needs to invest in the quality and wider access of education, health and jobs in order to profit from the dividend.

The government needs to put in place programmes that promote participation by young women.

Balakrishnan said the Myanmar government still has time to plan to profit from the dividend.

He said the country should have a policy on hard infrastructure, such as roads, information technology, and banks, and soft infrastructure, such as access to high quality education, health care, and job creation.

These are the basic strategies that have to be implemented by Myanmar in order to tap into its demographic dividend potential by 2035, he added.

“Invest more in youth. A lot already has been done, but we need more investment in youth and women,” he said.

Myanmar has achieved significant progress in sexual, reproductive health and rights in the 25 years since it signed the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994.

Among these achievements is the reduction of the average number of children that women have from six to 2.5.

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