High number of children per per capita – Africa’s ticking bomb – News


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Counteracting strong population growth is a matter of resources. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

The number of people on earth is not growing as fast as before. It shows a new study from the UN. On average worldwide, women still give birth to 2.3 children. The situation is different in Africa: especially south of the Sahara, the population is still growing rapidly. On average, a woman there has almost five children.

According to journalist Naveena Kotoor, there are several reasons. On the one hand, the African population, like the world population, is now healthier and living longer thanks to medical advances. “Pregnant women and newborns no longer die during childbirth, children are cared for better after birth.”

Almost no schooling for girls

The success of vaccination campaigns is now also evident. On the other hand, many girls did not go to school for long in countries with particularly high population growth. “They get married very early and have children, also because they do not have access to contraception,” Kottoor explains. She lives in Kenya.

Naveena Kotoor

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Naveena Kottoor is a freelance journalist based in Kenya.

The strong population growth could be an advantage, she says. “This means that there are a lot of young people who are available for the labor market, who can help to boost the economy and also support the elderly population in that way.”

However, it always depends on a country’s respective policy and how many resources are available. “Of course, high population growth also affects how much electricity and water is needed and how many teachers are needed.” For example, in Congo, a poor country with very high population growth, it is more of a problem than an advantage.

UNO: Millions of teachers are needed


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Unicef ​​has long pointed out how important it is for the affected countries to invest in health, education and infrastructure in order to benefit from the economic benefits of population growth.

The UN Children’s Fund estimates that by 2030 there will be a need for 4.2 million additional workers in the health system (including doctors, nurses and midwives) who can provide these people with adequate care. More teachers are also needed when more children are born, who then prepare them for the labor market. In the primary school system alone, more than 4.5 million teachers would be needed.

Until recently, China sought to control growth with its one-child policy. Kottoor is not aware of any country in Africa that has committed to a number like China. “But there are countries like Niger, the poorest country in the world and also the one with the highest population growth per capita, where the newly elected president has said that this issue needs to be resolved.”

He therefore wants girls to stay longer in school, get a diploma and get married later instead of as 14- or 15-year-olds. “Many people see it as part of dealing with this problem: That girls qualify for the labor market and have children later. »

Nigeria is growing and growing

A discussion is also taking place in Nigeria, the largest country in Africa, currently home to around 206 million people and which will be the third largest country in the world by 2050, at Kottoor. “The vice president was talking about a ticking bomb.”

This in light of the high numbers: “Between 15 and 20 million people live in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria. By 2050, it will be twice as much. “Lagos will then be the largest city in the world. Thanks to the oil reserves, Nigeria has money.” But so far this money has not been used wisely, “the journalist sums up. Hopefully the next few years will show, whether a new president elected next year will address this issue.

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