ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
African governments need realign their national
policies to reflect the needs and aspirations of elderly persons
who comprise an estimated 6.3 percent of the continent’s
population, campaigners said on Friday.
the International and Regional Policies Coordinator with Help
Age International Africa Regional Office, stressed that reforms
on social protection policies coupled with public awareness is
key to improving the welfare of Africa’s senior citizens.
witnessed a surge in the number of elderly people hence the need
to modify existing policies to ensure they live in a dignified
manner,” said Kihumba.
She spoke at a
regional workshop on advancing the rights and protection of
older persons displaced by conflicts held at the Ethiopian
capital, Addis Ababa
International has been implementing a program to help improve
the plight of elderly refugees from South Sudan who have settled
in neighboring countries like Uganda and Ethiopia.
Kihumba noted that
Africa’s ageing population has borne the brunt of man-made and
natural calamities, hence the need to invest in livelihood
projects that can shield them from hunger, disease and
“We need to
domesticate international and domestic protocols on protection
of the rights of older people in this continent. They deserve
shelter, decent income, education and social protection,”
African Heads of
State and Government in 2016 endorsed a comprehensive charter to
promote the welfare of senior citizens in the continent in line
with UN 2030 Goals and the continent’s Agenda 2063.
Kihumba said that
empowering senior citizens is key to advancing Africa’s
“The elderly persons
are making immense contribution to growth of Africa’s economies.
They are care givers, farmers and peace mediators,” said Kihumba.
campaigners have explored innovative ways to boost the welfare
and living standards of elderly people across Sub-Saharan
Nebru Mehary, the
Regional Program Manager, Protection and Inclusion at Help Age
International, said that targeted interventions like medical
care, training and psycho-social support are key to prolonging
the lifespan of Africa’s senior citizens.