Population and development in Western Africa are closely linked. At the heart of these issues lies the slow demographic transition of the region’s countries, which still experience some of the highest fertility rates in the world.
Last month the Center for Global Development hosted a meeting on the Role of Population and Development Research in Western Africa at our offices in Washington DC. Over the daylong workshop, 17 participants with a diverse range of expertise and perspectives discussed the many pressing population and development issues in that part of the world. Participants came from organizations including USAID, the World Bank, IPAS, UC Berkeley, UNPFA, PRB, the Hewlett Foundation, and Cornell University. In their discussions, the group agreed that there remains a lack of clear policy recommendations or consensus on how to best address the population and development nexus, despite a renewed focus on the role of family planning, reproductive health, and demography as essential drivers of economic development. In addition, a few common themes emerged and participants identified several research questions that will require closer attention over the coming years.