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The demographic dividend represents a golden opportunity for many developing countries to experience accelerated economic growth as a result of changes in the population age structure. But harnessing a demographic dividend is not automatic, and requires strategic investments in different areas of the country, especially of younger people.

UNFPA took the initiative to launch discussions and two publications on the demographic dividend and the case for investing in youth. The panelists at the side event elaborated on what the demographic dividend is, and the opportunity it presents to countries. Using Sri Lanka as an example, they highlighted the policies required to realize the demographic dividend, particularly as they relate to adolescents and youth.

The policy study, entitled "Investing in the demographic dividend: successes, challenges and way forward for Sri Lanka" was co-authored by the Colombo based Institute of Policy Studies and the UNFPA Country Office. Based on the findings of study, UNFPA portrayed "Generation Youth" - eight young successful role models in the areas of entrepreneurship, medical sciences, nature conservation, peacebuilding, education, music and the national sport, cricket.

Ms. Nobuko Horibe commended the great efforts made by the government of Sri Lanka to invest in youth in the early 90's. She indicated that the 'pace of demographic transitions has increased greatly' and urged governments and organizations to maximize their benefits by investing in young people.

The study and the new publication were launched in the presence of the UN SG's Special Envoy on Youth, Mr. Ahmed Alhendawi, UNFPA's Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Ms. Nobuko Horibe, Mr. Chatura Rodrigo, Research Economist at the IPS as well as renowned musicians Bathiya and Santhush.

The full report ‘Investing in the Demographic Dividend: Successes, Challenges and Way Forward for Sri Lanka', can be downloaded via the following link:

‘Generation Youth' book can be accessed via: