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For many stakeholders, the March –April 2012 Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Kampala, Uganda was a point of reflection regarding previously made commitments. Behind the scenes, the IPU was an arena for advocacy where new agendas were put on the table and a renewal of momentum on issues that had stalled.

As expected it was an opportunity for neutral agencies like the United Nations and other diplomatic agencies to play a brokering role between the people and the leaders of countries represented. It is in this capacity that Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) got an opportunity to meet with the President of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Key on the agenda was Uganda’s high population growth rate and the need to invest in the current demographic bonus represented in the bulging population of young people, which will last for only 30 years. A country is able to achieve demographic bonus if it is able to reduce fertility and develop employable or productive skills for young people and therefore increase the proportion of working population in order to support the dependant population. Dr. Babatunde’s ideas were very simple; Uganda has potential to reap from the bulging population of young people if investment is made in family planning and education, especially for girl child, up to secondary and tertiary levels.

He said that it is important to create employment and productive opportunities for the young people to participate in the socio-economic development of the country, including adding value to agricultural products. He said, “No single country world over has transformed without demographic transition – every economic growth is associated with population programmes.”

Dr. Babatunde noted that with economic growth rate of 6.5% and population growth rate of 3.2%, Uganda needed to address the issue through increased investments in family planning programmes, in order to drive growth of the economy. During the meeting, Dr. Babatunde extended an invitation to President Museveni to the Family Planning Summit in London. And on 11th July 2012, President Museveni and the First Lady Janet Museveni, led the Uganda delegation to the summit. The summit, that was hosted by the UK government and the US – based Gates Foundation in collaboration with UNFPA called for international commitment and resource mobilization for family planning. The meeting resolved that Uganda should make a balanced social and economic investment in addressing the needs of the bulging youth population.