Ethiopia: When does population become an economic asset?

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Terefe Degefa


The population of Ethiopia has a demonstrable potential to create a demographic window of opportunity (DWO) within which demographic dividend could be harnessed. Nevertheless, the current understanding of the possible durations of DWOs appears inadequate. This article aims to fill this gap by working out the DWOs through population projections based on rapid, slower and constant fertility decline scenarios. The 2007 Population and Housing Census data were used to construct projections. Considering favourable conditions behind changes in the age structure of the population where the pre-dominance of age group 15–64 is the key, the article established two periods (2028–2062 and 2037–2073) during which the DWOs open and close in Ethiopia related to rapid and slower fertility decline scenarios, respectively, showing that rapid fertility decline allows Ethiopia to create the DWOs earlier than slower fertility decline. It concludes that these two periods denote potential conditions to turn the population into an economic asset, although the realization of such potential depends upon the preparation and implementation of relevant policies and strategies ahead of time.

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