Africa is growing – and poverty is increasing, Africa, dw

Africa’s population is growing rapidly and is expected to double by 2050. A recent study by the Gates Foundation advises more birth control. The change of heart has already begun in Ethiopia.

1.3 billion people live on the African continent. There will be twice as many in 32 years, and if that means the growth of the economy cannot keep up with that of the population, poverty will increase. The foundation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates took this trend as an opportunity to publish a new study. The forecasts in the current report "Goalkeepers 2018" are rather bleak: in 2050, around 40 percent of the world’s extremely poor population will live in only two countries: Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Around 190 million people currently live in Nigeria. Each woman gives birth to an average of five children there. And this has consequences:"It looks pretty bad in Nigeria now", Farouk Jega, director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Nigeria office, said in an DW interview. "Increasing poverty is exacerbating the security situation, causing unrest and crime. The health minister is promoting modern contraceptives. But only ten percent of women use it". Poor women and families in particular often had no access to condoms and other means.

Traditional image of women

In large parts of Nigeria – as in many African countries – a traditional understanding of roles dominates. To change that, the government is working with civil society, religious leaders, and traditional leaders, says Jega. With success: The residents are already discussing the disadvantages of child marriage and the widespread stereotype that many children are a guarantee of retirement benefits. Jega: "It is a long process to change people’s awareness and behavior."

A health official measures the arm circumference of a child in a refugee camp in Nigeria

To offer more education for women and innovative sources of income for them – that is the best Way to turn the problem into opportunities, Jega believes. But so far the birth rate has not decreased. In the fight against overpopulation, the Gates couple’s foundation suggests investing more in the health and education of young people. "If every woman in Sub-Saharan Africa were able to have the number of children she really wanted, population growth would be reduced by 30 percent", she writes.

Men also asked

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, ongoing wars are making development work more difficult, says Frederick Okwayo, a member of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Johannesburg. "Logistical supply is difficult due to the poor infrastructure. But we try to go to the refugee camps and help people there, including family counseling", says Okwayo. It is important for all countries: the men have to be involved in order to show them the advantages of smaller families. Governments are also required to lead reforms and support aid organizations.

Africans currently make up around one sixth of the world’s population

Nigeria’s population will increase to 400 million by 2050, and the Congo will have two and a half times as many people as it does now, says Alisa Kaps, a member of the Berlin Institute for Population and Development. Given these rates, food, healthcare, and work are becoming increasingly difficult: "The economic growth is eaten up by the high growth of the population", says Kaps in a DW interview. "Almost 20 million people in Africa grow into working age each year, but only three million formal jobs are available. Where should the money come from??"

Ideological opposites

There are still African presidents who are campaigning for an increase in births, says Kaps. "I find that questionable." One of them is John Magufuli in Tanzania. At the beginning of September, he asked women to leave out contraceptives because the country needed more people. More than half of the 53 million Tanzanians live below the poverty line of $ 2 a day. Magufuli was also undeterred by criticism from the opposition and banned an American aid organization from promoting family planning in the media.

According to the Gates study, Africans are having more children than they want – also due to a lack of access to contraceptives

Other countries stand in stark contrast to Magufuli’s policies: Rwanda improved the once desolate health system in the years after the genocide – including family planning. The small country has increased contraceptive use by women by 60 percent and, like Botswana, is one of the success stories when it comes to slowing population growth.

Ethiopia in particular is changing "From Hunger Land to Bearer of Hope" – This is the title of a study published by the Berlin Institute on Friday (September 21, 2018). The number of children per woman has dropped from seven to four and a half because the government has hooked in the three core areas of health, education and job creation, said Alisa Kaps. "This is the fastest decline in the birth rate in sub-Saharan Africa." More than 30,000 women have been trained as health workers, and each community offers basic health care. This not only affects population growth. According to Kaps, life expectancy has increased by six years to around 66 years.

The editors recommend

Study: Development aid does not keep pace with population growth

Africa receives more development aid than any other continent, but that has not been able to significantly alleviate poverty. One reason for this, according to a South African study, is the high population growth. (03.08.2018)

89 million unwanted pregnancies a year

Poor women in developing countries are at high risk of getting pregnant unintentionally. This is clear from the 2017 UN World Population Report. Development Minister Müller speaks of one "time bomb". (10.17.2017)

AU summit: having children, but right

When Africa’s heads of state and government meet in Addis Ababa this Monday, the main topic will be: population growth. However, they do not want to specify the number of children. (03.07.2017)

Erdogan is once again railing against contraception

Family planning no, population growth yes. The Turkish head of state Erdogan makes no secret of his sociopolitical stance. Now he fired a rhetorical broadside against contraception. (05.30.2016)

Always more "child brides" in Africa

The children’s relief organization UNICEF warns that the number could increase in view of the rapid population growth African "child brides" more than double. This is associated with great risks for those affected. (11.26.2015)

  • date 09/21/2018
  • Writer / Author Martina Schwikowski
  • TagsAfrica, Population Growth, Birth Control, Family Planning, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Feedback: Send us your feedback!
  • To pressPrint Page
  • Permalink https://p.dw.com/p/35JeG

more on the subject

World Population Conference in Nairobi: New Approach to Women’s Rights November 12, 2019

If women can live healthier and have fewer children, this has positive effects for society as a whole. The World Population Conference in Nairobi therefore wants to give new impetus to old goals.

Africa’s demographic dilemma 11.07.2019

Africa’s population is growing rapidly. The high birth rate presents the continent with an enormous challenge. However, child numbers decrease when education, health and jobs increase, says a study.

Study: Development aid does not keep pace with population growth on March 8, 2018

Africa receives more development aid than any other continent, but that has not been able to significantly alleviate poverty. One reason for this, according to a South African study, is the high population growth.

  • date 09/21/2018
  • Writer / Author Martina Schwikowski
  • TagsAfrica, Population Growth, Birth Control, Family Planning, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Send us your feedback!
  • To pressPrint Page
  • Permalink https://p.dw.com/p/35JeG

+++ News in brief +++

Macron accuses Erdogan of breaking the word

French President Emmanuel Macron accuses Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan violates the agreement of the Donut Libya conference. At the same time, Macron is deepening relations with Athens.

Many soldiers killed in attack in Mali

Fighters in Mali have once again attacked government forces and killed numerous soldiers. The attacks in the region have been increasing for years – regardless of the international presence of troops.

Lassa fever is so dangerous in West Africa

In Nigeria, 24 people died of Lassa fever in the first days of January. The virus keeps breaking out in this country. How is it transmitted and how dangerous is the disease?

Dos Santos charged with fraud

The judiciary in Angola accuses the richest woman in Africa. It’s about fraud and money laundering. The daughter of former Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos said she wanted hers "good name" defend.

Background and analysis

"Springboard care" for refugees: from Algeria to German geriatric care

Germany is looking for nurses, refugees like Sarra Belmostefaoui a professional perspective. Now she is learning elderly care and meets very different people.

Libya: No peace in sight

After the Libya conference in Berlin, it initially seemed as if the conflict could be contained. But now it turns out that the main causes of the war were not negotiated there. The fighting in the country continues.

Reactions to Berlin Libya conference: Libya is in Africa

African reactions to the Libya conference are mixed. Many are annoyed that the future of Libya will be decided in Europe. Hopes now rest on South Africa’s President Ramaphosa.

Libya conference in Berlin: who wants what?

The Federal Government is inviting you to the big Libya conference on Sunday. Regional and international actors with very different interests are invited. Who is pursuing which goal in Libya? An overview.

RELATED POSTS

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Meito Home
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: