AFRICA’S WOES: MORE PEO­PLE, MORE EF­FORT

The next three decades need third wave of poverty re­duc­tion in Africa

The East African - - NEWS -

Africa’s pop­u­la­tion is pro­jected to dou­ble in size by 2050. Be­tween 2050 and 2100, it could al­most dou­ble again, mean­ing the con­ti­nent will have to quadru­ple its ef­forts just to main­tain the cur­rent level of in­vest­ment in health and ed­u­ca­tion.

By CHRISTA­BEL LIG­AMI

Women in sub-sa­ha­ran Africa have an av­er­age of 0.7 more chil­dren than they want. If that num­ber went down to zero over the next five years, the pop­u­la­tion in 2100 could change by 30 per cent, ac­cord­ing to a new Goal­keep­ers re­port.

Based on cur­rent trends, Africa's pop­u­la­tion is pro­jected to dou­ble in size by 2050.

Be­tween 2050 and 2100, could al­most dou­ble again.

In that case, the con­ti­nent would have to quadru­ple its ef­forts just to main­tain the cur­rent level of in­vest­ment in health and ed­u­ca­tion, which is al­ready low.

The 2018 re­port co–au­thored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion, calls for the world to ac­cel­er­ate in­vest­ments in hu­man cap­i­tal, par­tic­u­larly health and ed­u­ca­tion.

“If the rate of pop­u­la­tion growth slows down, there will be more re­sources to in­vest in each African's health, ed­u­ca­tion and op­por­tu­nity for all,” says the re­port.

Ac­cord­ing to Bill Gates, the goal of fam­ily plan­ning pro­grammes is not to hit pop­u­la­tion targets; on the con­trary, it is to em­power women so that they can ex­er­cise their fun­da­men­tal right to choose the num­ber of chil­dren they have, and when, and with whom.

“For­tu­nately, em­pow­er­ing cou­ples to make de­ci­sions about their lives also im­proves Africa's fu­ture by chang­ing the pop­u­la­tion growth sce­nario,” it said Mr Gates.

He said that the foun­da­tion has in­vested more than $15 bil­lion in projects rel­e­vant to Africa and in the fu­ture, will spend even more be­cause Africa is the world's pri­or­ity for the fore­see­able fu­ture. Also, in­vest­ing in Africa yields re­sults.

Stud­ies from sub-sa­ha­ran Africa show that gains in im­plants, now more read­ily avail­able, are driv­ing over­all con­tra­cep­tive use. Re­search to de­velop new meth­ods — and to make con­tra­cep­tives and high-qual­ity fam­ily plan­ning

Pic­ture: File

Newborns share a bed at a ma­ter­nity and baby unit.

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