Population Growth: The Search for Quality

Published on 9th October 2012

While the Kenya government's bid to control the number of children that Kenyan women can give birth to is well intentioned, the country must guard against falling into the Malthusian trap. Driven by English Economist Thomas Malthus's prediction that population growth would keep the mass of mankind in misery forever, developed nations have for a long time coerced developing  countries to view increase in their people as a 'time bomb,' 'problem,' or 'scourge.'  Consequently, international development agencies have aided Africa to curtail its population growth on one hand while their respective countries have stipulated stringent measures to contain African populations within the continent.

It is true that most Africans are plagued with serious socio-economic challenges. These however, are not solely attributable to population growth but disenfranchisement by leaders, lopsided priorities, the skewed global economic order, geopolitics and underutilization of the continent's natural resources.

The focus by African countries ought not to be so much on reducing their population but rather, building quality populations that can creatively solve respective countries' socio-political and economic challenges. This can be achieved through radically overhauling the continent’s existing education system and fine-tuning it to enable Africans be productive; recognize and harness the vast opportunities within the continent. The continent’s leadership must formulate policies that reward talent and productivity, attract value added production within the continent and equip African citizenry with the right tools to participate in global activities.

Libya, an African country, demonstrated during the Muammar Gadaffi era that with resolve, African citizens can live quality lives. The Libyan government ensured that social amenities like water and electricity were absolutely free for every Libyan; there was Zero percent interest rates on loans obtained from banks; Libyan mothers received a free maternity grant of $ 5,000 per each child born; a portion of the national oil revenue was paid directly to citizens' bank accounts; there was free education for every citizen up to Graduate level;  and free medical care abroad was accorded to  patients who required it. If Libya achieved this feat, other African countries can do it.

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