The Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat organized an Expert Group Meeting on “Fertility, Changing Population Trends and Development: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future” at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 21 and 22 October 2013. The meeting was convened to inform substantive preparations for the forty-seventh session of the Commission on Population and Development in April 2014. This paper, prepared by experts participating in the meeting, describes the challenges and opportunities of transitions to adulthood in high fertility settings, focusing on the case of sub-Saharan Africa, which has the most youthful population in the world. Current challenges in the region are high levels of youth unemployment and under-employment and low levels of education in terms of quality of education and access to education. Early marriage among girls is high in many sub-Saharan African countries, which limits their employment and education prospects. Youth in sub-Saharan Africa are also uniquely vulnerable to poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, illustrated by early childbearing and the HIV epidemic among youth. The paper concludes with the policy prospects to address these challenges, including increased allocation of resources to support primary and secondary education, vocational training, and access to health services, particularly among the most vulnerable groups of youth.
Kabiru, C.W.; Izugbara, C.O.; Béguy, D.; Sidze, E.M. Transitions to adulthood in a high fertility context: The case of sub-Saharan Africa. United Nations, New York, USA (2013) 19 pp. [United Nations Population Division Expert Paper No 2013/3]