Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi highlighted on Tuesday the need for the country to lower the annual population growth rate to 400,000 in order for citizens to reap the fruits of development efforts.
The president’s remarks came during a ceremony to inaugurate a medical complex in Ismailia as well as a number of other hospitals and medical institutions nationwide via video.
The president highlighted during his remarks the negative impact overpopulation has on thwarting development and the state’s efforts to improve people’s lives.
“It is not the state that spends; it is the Egyptian people who spend. It is not us who are suffering; it is the Egyptian people who are suffering,” the president said, highlighting the negative repercussions of overpopulation.
The Egyptian population currently stands at 101.5 million, according to the country's official statistics agency CAPMAS.
The natural rate of population increase in the country recorded 1.78% in 2019.
Last year, the president warned that the population is expected to increase to around 193-194 million citizens by 2050, saying this requires the state to double its infrastructure projects during the coming 30 years.
“I’m suffering with you as an official, but eventually, will your son or daughter receive a good level of education or not? Will they receive a good level of treatment or not? Will they receive good nutrition opportunities or not? And will they get a job opportunity or not,” El-Sisi added.
Commenting on recent demands that the president enacts measures to combat overpopulation, El-Sisi said “not all matters should be done toughly. Instead, it should be carried out through a program, and we are working on this program."
El-Sisi said the fact that millions of children are suffering from either anemia or obesity “means that you are not paying attention to your child.”
“Trust me, [having] more than two children is a big problem,” El-Sisi said.
“It is not only important that you feed them. You should pay attention and follow up on them… If there are three or four or more children [per family], you will not be able to do that.”