To accelerate their demographic transition, sub‐Saharan African (SSA) countries must trigger significant and rapid fertility declines. These fertility declines will open a demographic window of opportunity and enable countries to capture a first demographic dividend. Despite some successes, many programs aimed at decreasing fertility in SSA have yielded disappointing results. This commentary argues that better integrated policies will help to accelerate fertility declines in SSA. Such an approach should harness the synergies between a set of four key policy levers: women's empowerment; female education; family planning, reproductive health services, and universal health coverage; and legal reforms. These policy levers should be coupled with renewed commitment from leaders on the continent and increased investments in both family planning and population institutions. By concomitantly investing in these priorities and harnessing the synergies of these policy levers, countries in SSA have a critical opportunity to accelerate their demographic transition, which could help them reach emerging economy status.
Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council.