As the world’s population hits seven billion, countries in Africa are struggling to deal with the consequences of population growth. At conservative estimates, Kenya’s population will hit 85 million by 2050 from 41 million today, putting pressure on everything from schools to health services as the country’s social system struggles to cope.
“We are adding one million people a year and it is choking the economy,” says Dr Boniface Omuga K’Oyugi, director general of Kenya’s National Co-ordinating Agency for Population and Development.
“When 43 per cent of the population are aged 15 years or less, it means we are consuming more and spending less, which leads to high unemployment rates among young people. They become dependent on their families which, by association, have low nutritional levels.”
Kenya began tackling high population growth rates in the 1980s when the average woman had 8.1 children. That number now stands at 4.6, off the government’s target of 2.5. However in neighbouring Uganda the figure remains high – on average a woman has seven children in her lifetime.
By 2050, Uganda’s population will have more than doubled from 32.4 million to over 80 million, according to a recent joint report from the country’s National Planning Authority (NPA) and the World Bank."