EAST AFRICAN REGIONAL ANALYSIS OF YOUTH DEMOGRAPHICS
According to the United Nations (UN) projections, the world’s population will reach 10 billion by 2055 and more than 95% of this growth will happen in low and middle – income countries. Of the 2.45 billion people expected to be added to the global population between 2017 and 2055, more than 1.4 billion (57%) will be added in Africa. Decades of very high fertility in Africa, coupled with rapidly declining child mortality have created a population age-structure dominated by young people under the age of 25. The demographics of the East African Community (EAC), particularly those of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, mirror those of Africa. Around 20% of the 127 million people in these four countries are between the ages of 15 and 24, and can be labelled as “youth” according to the United Nations definition. In the last population and housing censuses in the four countries conducted between 2009 and 2014, about 40% of the Rwandese population were children below the age of 15, and the corresponding percentages were 43% in Kenya, 45% in Tanzania, and 52% in Uganda. Such youthful population, if healthy, skilled, and gainfully employed, can be a catalyst for accelerated social and economic development. When the ratio of the working-age population to dependents increases, a window of opportunity opens for accelerated economic growth, a phenomenon called the demographic dividend (DD).