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Why population growth must be checked SYLIVESTER DOMASA

LAST week, the European Union (EU) Head of Delegation granted an interview to members of the press addressing a number of contentious issues, including the overly-increasing population in East Africa and Europe. Depending on the source of data, population is rising rapidly.
The envoy said the current trend of population growth will most likely double Tanzania’s population, creating a huge pressure on economic growth. The ambassador said as the country eyes speedup economic growth at an average of 7.2 per cent annually, the current 2-3 per cent population growth can have maximum effect to the economy. In most cases, population is viewed to be positive as it contributes in creating market for produce.
Uncontrolled population create pressure on land resources, water and food distribution. By any chance, when these three items become scarce, they tend to create divisions within the society and influence clear poverty levels between the extremely poor and the riches.
If we’re to consider the water sector, population increase in the community is most likely to create water shortage. At this point, communities that were involved in irrigation farming will be forced to abandon the activity owing to acute water shortage.
Addressing reporters, Ambassador Roeland Van De Geer, said population growth in Tanzania has grown by ten-fold in the last decade. The government in Tanzania has made the public believe, the country has all the natural resources available in the world.
This means riches! But the available minerals, forests, water, arable land are not renewable. On water bodies for instance, studies shows more than two-thirds of the world’s fisheries have been overfished or are fully harvested and more than one third are in a state of decline because of factors such as the loss of essential fish habitats, pollution, and global warming. Technically, such decrease in fisheries is forming part of pressure to resources due to population.
The demographic growth in Tanzania was in 1950 projected at 7.6million, 1960 (10.0m), 1970 (13.6m), 1980 (18.6m), 1990 (25.4m), 2000 (34.0m), 2010 (44.7m) and now the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is projecting the country’s population at 50.2 million as at 2016.
In other countries such as China, the government has moved ahead to introduce population policies to control the rapidly increasing population. However in Tanzania, the situation is far from being realised.
A huge population has limited knowledge of family planning and sees it’s a ‘total blessing’ to have a big number of children. The United Nations’ 2009 world population prospect, projected that Africa will exceed 1.7 billion come 2050 based on sharply declining fertility rates.
An alarming example is; back in the 1970s, there were two Europeans for every African, but in ten years to come there will be two Africans in every European. It means Europe is investing heavily in controlling population than Africa.
As Tanzania moves to a middle-income country, it is, however, critical that the country reconsider modalities to truck down population growth to ensure a smooth economy, which will reflect the actual situation to the numbers documented by NBS and the Central Bank on poverty eradication.

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