Africa's population is an issue that presents the disproportionate reality between the people who are there and the resources available to sustain those people. The population in Africa continues to flare, while little is being done to avail resources that cater to the welfare of these people.
For the success of Africa, family planning is a topic that should be gaining a lot of traction now. With a scarcity of key factors like employment, food and secure pension benefits, family planning is becoming more relevant than ever.
The United Nations estimates that Africa's population is expected to reach 2.4 billion by 2050. And that figure is double that of the population of Africa in 2016. Such projections tell a story of a rapidly expanding population - one that is expanding at an extremely unrelenting rate. It is expected that by the end of the century, half of the newborn babies around the world will be coming from Africa.
To keep up with all of this, family planning is the way to go. Speaking during an event at the Africa Center in Harlem in New York City this week, billionaire Mo Ibrahim said, "When our economy is growing by two percent, we’re running on a treadmill. Why are we Africans unwilling to talk about family planning?”
But then population control is a subject that raises other ethical issues. For instance, how can a country develop without proper manpower? Without proper human resources? It has also been a rallying point for colonists and racists in their rhetoric. But then again, how do you feed a growing population when struggling to cater for immediate, current needs?
Bill Gates weighed in saying, "If you’re not careful, anyone who is an outsider could be misunderstood," emphasizing the need to wholly understand the implications around population growth and how family planning mitigates this.
The rationale is that "as a country develops its economy and more people get educated and move to cities, its population growth rate starts to decline."
"If you mess up health and education, you get more people. But if you get it right, eventually your population goes down," remarked Bill Gates.
"Africa today has the biggest gap in what people want in family planning, and what’s available to them. Melinda [Gates] is trying to close that gap because then everything gets easier—education, food, stability, jobs."
When population growth gets ahead of job creation, problems such as security issues, become a huge menace. Violence then becomes a product of such an unstable social fabric. When there are no jobs, circumstances force people to resort to violence. Governments across the whole continent should aim to improve their policy frameworks in governance while this is complemented by family planning.
In rural parts of Africa, the issue of population is a protracted one. That is where it is more prevalent. People have a lot of children in the hope of having secure futures in their later years.
Header image credit - The Nordic Africa Institute