I read some very significant and rather different statements on the extremely high population growth rate in today’s New Vision [http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/45682-Uganda-African-Peer-Review-report-… ], which I hope mark a turning point for the country. This part of what was said:
The State minister for planning Matia Kasaija while opening the workshop proposed that a law is enacted to curb Uganda’s rapid growing population estimated at 33 million. “Our parents used to produce eight children because they thought it was a kind of insurance in old age. They also thought that if five of the children died they would remain with three.” Uganda is among the top five countries with rapid population growth rates like Niger and Yemen. The Africa Peer Review Panel noted with concern the rapid growth rate in Uganda’s population which has potential not only to affect the overall quality of life, but also had the capacity to aggravate the degree of human suffering and poverty by producing a high ratio of dependent children for each working adult. It is recommended that Uganda must make sure that every pregnancy is wanted and every birth is safe, keeping girls in school, ensuring male involvement in reproductive health and involving the youth in planning and decision making, promote youth skills development and employment.
The fact that proposing a law to help curb the population growth rate is even being mentioned is very significant, because it shows it’s becoming clear that things have reached a point needing the government to get directly involved. Around 7 kids per woman have raised the population of Uganda from under 20m to 33-34 million within Museveni’s presidency. I am particularly glad that a connection is made between persistent levels of human suffering & poverty & “a high ratio of dependent children for each working adult”. This is something worth noting, because Uganda has over the last 20 years been maintaining a relatively high economic growth rate & yet there has been no significant change in the average level of the standard of living because this is neutralized by the high population growth, since the still small economy cannot absorb the ever increasing number of young people joining the job market. A significant portion of the population is moreover under 15.
As mentioned on this site by some contributors, the government needs to be involved on a level it was to significantly bring down the numbers of people infected by AIDS in the 90s, through a concerted education & awareness campaign, through prioritizing family planning, probably following the Rwanda governments policy of encouraging smaller families, of around 3 kids. The much lower mortality rate & lots of economic realities today puts us in a different age as that of our parents, because many more kids today grow and these are in any case quite expensive to look after, unless one does not dress them up, or they don’t go to school & just remain home to look after goats or work in the fields. Even then, the world is rapidly moving away from this.
There was no mention of the high population being good for the economy because it supposedly provides a big market or a plot by the west & other dark forces to keep the population low as part of some evil plan against Africans … I hope the minister can sensitize his colleagues about this topic, which would mark a good beginning. Related articles: