Talk with Experts II

Author: Durr-e-Nayab
Publication Year : 2021

Q. Fertility decline is essential for demographic dividend. With high and almost stalled fertility rates, do you think Pakistan can realize the opportunity for demographic dividend. Or is the demographic dividend paradigm still relevant to Pakistan?
A. Reaping the ‘demographic dividend’ is much more than mere fertility decline. It’s a combination of economics and demographics, and we are faltering on both. If the fertility rates are stalled it means that the supposed ‘window of opportunity’ provided by the age structure is not exactly a window, and is a prolonged state – a state where an increasing number of people would keep entering the labour force because of the population momentum provided by the fertility level. Our estimates at PIDE show that an annual economic growth rate of well over 7% is needed to accommodate these new entrants for full employment. It is by no means an easy task. Pakistan has not taken benefit of the opportunity so far, but it is never too late to make amends. Since more years have already been added to the ‘window’ because of slowing fertility decline, we can start afresh about how to take benefit of the opportunity.