103 million now: Less is better

Reem Leila , Tuesday 1 Mar 2022

A national initiative controlling spiralling population growth is launched.

Less is better
Egypt s population increases by 2.5 millions annually

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi on Monday launched the National Project for Developing the Egyptian Family which aims to rein in the country’s population increase. The initiative is considered a basis for addressing overpopulation from a health, social and economic perspective. “Developing Egypt is everyone’s responsibility, not the government’s alone,” Al-Sisi said during the launch of the project scheduled to run to 2024. “Citizens must be aware of the seriousness of the challenges facing the country,” he added.

Egypt’s population increased by 14 million in the past seven years, a burden on the country’s resources, the president said. “The state must rally its efforts to realise development in order to combat poverty, ignorance and increase awareness, knowledge, progress, as well as prosperity.”

Egypt’s current population is nearly 103 million. Ever since the country’s population was 60 million, Egypt has been suffering “water poverty”, Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli noted during the event. Currently the individual’s share of water in Egypt ranges from 550 to 580 cubic metres annually, he pointed out.

According to Madbouli, overpopulation also affects the country’s educational process “as it is very difficult and costly to build enough classrooms for the growing population.” There is currently a shortage of 40,000 classrooms, he said, the cost of which is estimated to exceed LE20 billion.

There are 2.5 million newborns annually, said Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Said. “We are after enhancing the population’s lives, and not just to limit population increase,” she said. Al-Said explained that the executive plan of the project focuses on five pillars: the economic empowerment of women, ensuring free of charge access to birth control, promoting awareness, promulgating legislation, and offering monetary incentives.

Females between 18-45 will be economically empowered, she said, adding that 1,500 female doctors have been trained to raise awareness of birth control for females at healthcare units nationwide.

“There will be LE60,000 allocated to each female beneficiary of the programme,” said Al-Said, while adding that recipients will be regularly screened for breast cancer, and be required to allow time between the birth of each child.

Meanwhile, President of the National Council for Women (NCW) Maya Morsi said that the council is campaigning to raise the awareness of women about the dangers of multiple births to their health and economic status.

A version of this article appears in print in the 3 March, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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