Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly
Madbouly made his remarks during a ceremony to launch the National Project to Develop the Egyptian Family in the country's New Administrative Capital, in the presence of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
The project, which will be implemented over three years, aims to improve the quality of life for Egyptian citizens and families, controlling population growth to ensure the sustainability of the development process.
Speaking during a debate on the sidelines of the event, Madbouly said the project not only aims to address family planning and population growth, but also improving the overall quality of life for citizens.
The project is in line with the state's efforts and the president's directives to develop Egypt and move towards a “new republic,” which Egypt has been working on over the past seven years through a package of national development projects, according to Madbouly.
The country has been implementing ventures in the countryside and cities alike in an effort to fix problems that had accumulated in previous years, the prime minister said.
He added that efforts are being exerted to face current and future challenges even as the population continues to grow.
Madbouly cited the Decent Life initiative, which he said targets 60 million citizens in the countryside with the aim of improving their living conditions within three years.
Overpopulation 'a matter of national security'
The average population growth rate in Egypt is roughly 1.5 million newborns every year, Madbouly pointed out, adding that such a rate is a challenge to the state.
The prime minister indicated that it is time to consider overpopulation as an issue of national security and a matter of life and death for the entire nation.
For the rest of his speech, Madbouly addressed the challenges posed by population growth, saying that it is one of the government's top priorities, along with satisfying citizen's needs.
"Every year, I am required as a state to address these needs … when we discuss [the matter] with similar governments, they ask what is next? What will you do in 10 or 15 years?"
Water and food security is also a pressing issue when it comes to population growth, he further said.
Madbouly also said that the state is currently working on preparing the public budget for the new fiscal year 2022-2023, with a special focus on population issues.
Madbouly explained how the current population growth rate affects the education sector as well, saying, "If we assume that any school class has an average of 30 to 40 students, the state will need to provide 40,000 new classrooms every year to meet the aforementioned population growth," Madbouly remarked.
Egypt needs EGP 20 billion each year to accommodate the current rise in population, he added, noting that building one classroom costs around EGP 1.5 million.
In recent years, Egypt has launched several initiatives to address the problem of overpopulation. In 2019, it launched a two-year initiative called 'Two Is Enough' to encourage people to have fewer children.