- Uganda’s State Minister for Planning, Ephraim Kamuntu has urged the country to take urgent steps in controlling the rapidly growing population.
The minister said the high population growth can be controlled if the government addresses infant mortality, girl-child education and boosts household incomes.
Uganda with a population of 31 million people has one of the fastest growing populations in the world, with a current growth rate of 3.2 percent.
Mr Kamuntu has however defended the high population growth on high infant mortality rates which he said it leaves women unsure if their children could survive their infancy. “There is guesswork that if I produce five children, two will survive. The population should be shown that infant mortality is controllable,” he said.
He also urged the government to keeping the girl-child in school, emphasising that if the youth have the right skills they can become engines for economic growth and development for the east Africa state.
The head of information and communication at the Population Secretariat, Hannington Burunde, also said Uganda’s growing population, if not checked, will negatively affect the country’s education, health, economy, agriculture and environment sectors.
Uganda’s President Museveni has also publicly advocated for a larger population, defending it as the cornerstone for economic growth.
However, the lecturer at Makerere University, Professor Augustus Nuwagaba has argued that Uganda cannot benefit from its high population because it is characterised by highly dependent and poor people.
“This kind of population does not create demand because it’s not educated, skilled, healthy and gainfully employed,” Mr Nuwagaba said.
He said high unemployment, coupled with 56 percent of the population below 18 years, has resulted into a high dependency burden for the country.
Uganda’s growth rate is the third highest in the world after Yemen and Niger, respectively.
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