Maina wa Njuguna
I have always been somewhat suspect as to why the West seems so eager to see Africa’s population curtailed. Among all the challenges the continent faces, the one thing consistent is donor aid on contraceptives.
An economic argument could be made that an exploding population is an expansion of a converted production resource base; as well as a large consumer base, something that the West (Europe) and parts of the East (Asia) can only fathom as their populations decline at alarming rates.
On the other hand, a shrinking population can be problematic because of a shrinking workforce, especially in terms of highly-educated, high-skilled workers. These deficits can be an economic impediment and cause an overall reduction in quality of life. A limited and declining consumer base is also not helpful because companies’ growth potential is limited other things constant.
The following countries are projected by 2100 to have an immense population explosion: Niger 🇳🇪, is expected to grow by a factor of 10 times its current population; Malawi 🇲🇼 more than 8 times; Tanzania 🇹🇿 and Somalia will be 7 times larger than they are today.
It is located in West Africa and is the 2nd largest landlocked African country (1,270,000 km sq/ 490,000 sq mi)) after Chad. Its inhabitants include the Hausa people at 53%, Zarma & Songhay at 21.5 %, Tuareg at 11.0%, Fulani at 6.5% among other smaller ethnic groups. They are nomadic pastoralists and practice Islam. 80% 0f the country is lies in the Sahara desert.
Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries mainly because the land is not conducive for agriculture, persistent drought and has low human development index.
It has and will continue to have the fastest population growth rate not only in Africa but the world as a result of high fertility rates, and minimal to non-existent birth control. Its current population of 25 million with an expected explosion rate of a factor of 10, it will host a population of 165,000,000 Nigeriens by 2050.
Tanzania 🇹🇿, an East African country is notable and stands out, behind Niger 🇳🇪. The population has had an astronomical increase of 37% over the last decade and now stands at 63.5 million strong.
Tanzania’s major city and economic hub, Dar es Salaam, is one of the world’s fastest growing cities. It is expected to be 10 million plus, joining the ranks of Africa’s mega cities such as Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lagos in Nigeria and Cairo in Egypt by 2050.
Tanzania will be one of the most populated countries in Africa. It is projected that Tanzanians will be 139 million in 2050 and 285.65 million by 2100.
RACE TO CURTAIL AFRICA’S BALLOONING POPULATION
The Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation has committed over $2.5 billion between 2021 to 2030 to develop and improve contraceptive technologies, and support family planning programs. We believe a significant of that will be spent in Africa.
THE MAPUTO PROTOCOL
The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, better known as the Maputo Protocol, is an international human rights instrument established by the African Union that went into effect in 2005. (Wikipedia)
Investing in contraceptives is an African Union (AU) priority. 53 African Union member states are investing in sexual and reproductive health care services for women aged 15–49.
If contraceptive services were expanded and improved to meet all needs for modern contraception, unintended pregnancies would decline by 78%, from 27 million to six million per year, and unsafe abortions would decline by 78%, from 8.3 million to 1.8 million. (Guttmacher Institute – a New York & Washington, US based institution)Guttmacher Institute
DEPOPULATION (DECLINING POPULATION)
Most proponents of population control hail from regions with declining populations. Some of these countries especially in the West such as Germany 🇩🇪, Italy 🇮🇹 and much of East Europe are sounding alarms.
CAUSES OF DEPOPULATION
An aging populance is a shrinking country or area of habitation because young people are not replacing older, dying adults.
Declining birth rates (The total number of births in a year per 1,000 individuals).
Declining fertility rates (The total number of births in a year per 1,000 women of reproductive age in a population). If lower than the population replacement rate.
High infant mortality rates where babies die at higher rates due to poor healthcare systems. Sub-Saharan Africa is notorious for high infant mortality mainly because of the malaria scourge.
About 650,000 children in the world die every year due to malaria of which Sub-Saharan Africa represents about 420,000, a whooping 65% sadly.
Declining populations are also due to high death rates as a result of wars and violence, diseases, or other calamities such as weather or climactic disturbances like cyclones, drug abuses, droughts, etc.
All things considered, Africa’s high population growth is a cause to celebrate if African countries can sustain economic expansion of double digits prefably over the same period of time. If this would be the case, I strongly believe that many countries on the continent will be considered developed economies and lives of the average African at this time would be something to envy.
High Gross Domestic Product per Capita (GDP per person) will mean more affluent populations with developed infrastructure, established health-care systems, high human development index, high productivity, thriving governments established by the rule of law, longevity to mention a few.
On the other hand, high population growth rates not supported by thriving economies will be a receipe for major problems that will be persistent such as poverty, crime, high densities, depletion of natural resources at ungodly rates, diseases, death, etc.
It is high time to foster African governments from North to South, East to West that are people centered, run by technocrats and established by the rule of law. This is the time to lay the foundation, tomorrow maybe a little bit late.