The G8 nations must insist that a significant portion of their $25 billion annual aid package to Africa goes to programs that get birth rates down, according to Sustainable Population Australia inc (SPA).
National president of SPA, Ms Jenny Goldie, says ending poverty can only be accomplished by curtailing population growth.
“Almost all African nations are characterised by very high fertility rates,” she says. “For instance, three of the five poorest countries in the world – Malawi, Sierra Leone and Somalia – have fertility rates between 6.3 and 7.3 (children per woman).
“The G8’s aid package is generous but it will be wasted unless a large amount is directed to primary health care, universal primary school education (especially for girls), raising the status of women, and to family planning,” says Ms Goldie. “All these are necessary for slowing and ultimately ending population growth.”
High population growth rates a generation ago have resulted in a ‘youth bulge’ which has contributed to the very high unemployment rates amongst the young in many African countries.
“There are simply too many young people for the number of jobs available,” says Ms Goldie. “It is likely to continue for some time given that half Africa’s population is under 17.
“Overpopulation, that is, an imbalance between resources and the number of people, lies at the heart of most of Africa’s problems. It leads not only to unemployment, but also to conflict and poor governance.
“The theme for this year’s World Population Day is Gender Equity. Only by raising the status of women and by allowing them to control their own fertility will we have any hope at all of slowing population growth and ending poverty,” Ms Goldie says.
Jenny Goldie Ph: 0401 921 453, 02 6235 5488