For 40 years, governments in Europe and America have held that the world is over populated. They have pressured their counterparts in Africa and elsewhere to curtail the powers of parents to have more children, claiming that parents could not be trusted to plan their families, and that the governments should take over the task. They sank huge funds into population control propaganda with such intensity that today there is a genuine problem of under population in many places.
However, recent findings has exposed the foolishness of these overpopulation scaremongers whose views have contributed in no small way to a high number of aged persons amongst many populace without the corresponding high number of young people to support them.
Many countries have now realised this too late. They have usurped the power of planning the family from the parent; suddenly they are now panicking, and are trying to reverse the ominous trend.
One country particularly affected is Egypt. Under the rein of the tyrant Hosni Mubarak who was ousted with the revolution, Egypt, apart from funding family planning programs, also funded publicity campaigns to curtail a population growth that was blamed for crippling Egypt’s development.
Mubarak advocated that couples should have maximum of two children and this was propagated by slogans such as: “Before you have another baby, secure its needs. According to Dr. Nahla Abdel-Tawab, the Egypt director of the non-profit Population Council, “The president himself used to talk about population increases and it was also in the newspapers, even in the speeches of the Prime minister.”
Thankfully, the new president Mohamed Morsi, seems to have changed all that. Since he came to power, the Egyptian government is no longer saying anything about the over population. Health officials also have “taken a starkly different view of climbing birthrates, presenting the problem as one of economic management – not the size of the population.
Now, population has seemed to vanish even from public discussion. Health workers said they were stunned when Dr. Abeer Barakat, an assistant minister for health who is responsible for family planning, made no explicit mention at a United Nations conference in December of population or family planning in describing the Health Ministry’s priorities.
Birthrate (births per 1000 people) in Egypt is rising to 32, a level not seen since 1991. Last year, there were 2.6 million births in Egypt, bringing the population to around 84 million people. Population experts and European countries are not comfortable with the silence of the government, and are fearful that the Egyptians would start mass-producing babies again as if they were senseless.
I think I like what Mohamed is doing. He is leaving the parents to make the decision themselves. This point was well captured by Marcus Roberts who said that “The people who rose up in a revolution only a couple of years ago and braved their previous government’s soldiers and policemen to topple Mubarak are not bereft of ideas about how to limit their family size without the government telling them to.”
I think we should stop over flogging this mythical issue of overpopulation and rather spend more time on solving other illness like polio, malaria and HIV.
“The real problem is administration,” said Hamid al-Daly, a representative of the ultra conservative Nour Party and a member of the health committee in Egypt’s upper house of Parliament. “The population is a blessing if we use it well, and a curse if we mismanage the crisis.”
Africa countries like Nigeria are also under pressure from America and Europe to curtail her population. But we will bless that explosion if it comes. I think is high time that Europe and America realise that we Africans love the cries of children, we also need the man-power to become the next world continent. We implore, our distracters in line with the United Nations charter to respect our sovereignty and lets us be.