USAID —the American government organisation that distributes international development aid— announced on Saturday that it will be contributing $19 million to help Egypt’s family planning efforts through a five-year programme.
In an official statement, the US Embassy in Cairo said that USAID will be joining Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population “to launch a new programme to strengthen Egypt’s family planning in response to Egypt’s rapid population growth.”
“Activities will help increase demand for family planning services and enhance the quality of services, aiming to improve contraceptive use and reduce fertility over time,” the statement said, adding that the programme will be implemented in Upper Egyptian governorates as well as parts of Cairo and Alexandria.
The embassy said the new effort "comes in response to calls by Egyptian officials, including President [Abdel-Fattah] El-Sisi, to recognise how overpopulation poses a threat to Egypt’s national development, and is part of the US government’s commitment to stand with Egypt in its economic and social development.”
Since 2017, Egyptian officials have described the country's rapid population growth as an "actual catastrophe" that threatens national development plans and demands immediate attention, just like the country's war against terrorism.
Last year, President El-Sisi said that the current rate of population growth poses a threat to the nation and restricts Egypt's progress.
In October 2017, Egypt announced that its population had reached 104.2 million, with 94.98 million living within Egypt and 9.4 million Egyptians living abroad.
In 2016, Egypt saw the birth of 2.6 million babies, according to statistics by the country's state run statistics agency CAPMAS in 2017.
CAPMAS said during the same year said the annual rate of population growth in the country was 2.4 percent.
“We know that USAID family planning programmes have made tremendous impact in the past. We stand poised again to be a part of the solution to the rapid growth in Egypt’s fertility rate,” USAID/Egypt Mission Director Sherry F. Carlin said.