Minister of Health and Population Khalid Abdel-Ghaffar during the Global Congress on Population, Health and Development. Photo courtesy of the health ministry.
The first edition of the PHDC is being held at the New Administrative Capital (NAC) through Friday.
The congress, which was inaugurated by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, aims to highlight the dynamic interrelation between population, health, and sustainable development.
“The population issue that Egypt faces is the biggest challenge confronting national efforts in the present and future as it hinders economic growth and the quality of life for citizens,” emphasized Abdel-Ghaffar.
Egypt, currently the 14th most populous country worldwide, has a population of more than 105 million, an increase of more than one and a half million citizen from last year.
Earlier in February, Head of Egypt's National Population Council (NPC) Tarek Tawfik said the country's population is expected to reach 142-157 million by the year 2050.
The national strategy aims to achieve a balance between population growth and development by promoting reproductive health, empowering women, investing in youth, improving educational opportunities, and raising awareness of population issues.
The strategy encompasses seven pillars, which are: ensuring reproductive rights, investing in human capital, empowering women, education and learning, as well as communication and media for development, climate change and population dynamics, and governance of the population file, according to Abdel-Ghaffar.
The strategy aligns with Egypt’s 2030 Sustainable Development Vision and the National Project for the Development of the Egyptian Family (NPDEF), he added.
The NPDEF was launched in March last year to address the population issue and it is a wide-ranging development scheme that goes beyond family planning and healthcare.
In March this year, Egypt announced plans under NPDEF to provide an annual incentive of EGP 1,000 to married women with no more than two children .
Also in March, thed Osra ("family") initiative was launched to provide young Egyptians with information on voluntary family planning and reproductive health options for healthy and sustainable child spacing.
In 2020, the government launched Etnein Kefaya (“two are enough”) campaign, which offered financial assistance to those who succeed in family planning.
Building on success
The health minister presented indicators measuring the results and impact of past efforts to address the population and development issue.
The total fertility rate in 2021 was 2.85 percent and it declined to 2.1 percent in 2023.
Meanwhile, the usage of family planning methods went from 66.4 percent in 2021 to 75 percent in 2023.
The illiteracy rate among people aged 10 and above declined from 25.8 percent in 2021to 12.6 percent in 2023.
Educational enrollment increased from 94 percent in 2021 to 98 percent in 2023.
Youth unemployment rate decreased from 16.5 percent in 2021 to 12 percent in 2023.
The percentage of children in the labour market decreased from 4.9 percent in 2021 to two percent in 2023.
The percentage of child marriages decreased from 15.8 percent in 2021 to eight percent in 2023.