Commentary: Harnessing Indonesia’s Demographic Dividend

Indonesia stands on the threshold. It needs to accelerate efforts to reap a demographic dividend to expand economic growth and development. While the world’s fourth-most populous country is making steady progress, it should further invest in young people to take advantage of its demographic window of opportunity. …

A critical foundation for the demographic dividend is ensuring that people have the rights and freedoms to define their lives, pursue education and employment, and accrue savings. These rights and freedoms include reproductive rights, freedom from early or forced marriage, and the right to choose the number and the spacing of their children. Families should be able to balance work and family life, and ensure the well-being of their children.

By promoting gender equality, girls stay in school, the labor force expands, and young people carry forward values of mutual trust and respect to the next generation. Providing access to health services, including reproductive health information and services, is critical.

Today women in Indonesia are having fewer babies than ever before, 2.4 births on average. Given the evident desire for smaller families, the nation should ensure that every woman who wants to plan her family has access to information, counseling and services.

By strengthening and increasing funding to the National Family Planning Coordinating Board (BKKBN), Indonesia can provide women, men and young people throughout the nation with access to high-quality family planning choices. This is a human right and it is also an important part of reaping the demographic dividend.

—Babatunde Osotemihin, executive director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), in “Harnessing Indonesia’s Demographic Dividend,” a commentary published on the Jakarta Globe. To read the full commentary, click here.