Egypt’s population just exceeded the 100 million mark going by the official announcement of the statistics agency.
Official data attributes the population bulge as a major challenge given the country’s limited resources. 7 million more people since the 2017 census. What was the population back in 1960 has now tripled. The country has held a steady growth rate annually. The high population numbers are linked to the increase in life expectancy, a high rate of fertility and a decline in the mortality rate.
It is estimated that about 5,000 people are born daily in the country. The country is feeling the pressure and strain on its limited resources. With over 60 percent of the population in Egypt under 30, the country is witnessing the largest youth bulge in its history. Every year over 800,000 people enter the workforce, at a time when official estimates point the unemployment rate at 10 percent.
As the country with the highest Arab population, Egyptian President Al Sisi pointed out the high growth rate and terrorism as the two biggest threats facing the country. An opinion that was followed by a draft law sent to parliament to cut paid maternity leave from three to two. Other lawmakers have proposed food subsidies to families who only have two children or tax exemptions to households abiding with the birth control plan.
The Ministry of Social Solidarity started a family planning campaign dubbed “Two is Enough,” in an effort to challenge traditional cultural norms in rural areas that lack contraception. The Ministry of Population and Health aims to cut down the population growth rate to 112 million by the year 2030, from an estimated 128 million. The campaign has received broad support from all stakeholders including the clergy who visited 12 of the most populous provinces in the country.
UNFP also teamed up with several Egyptian ministries to launch the “Your Right To Plan” campaign supported by the European Union.
Surprisingly, Egypt did not make it to the top 20 fastest growing populations released by the United Nations Development Program which is tasked with global population issues. The list was released on 11th July 2019 and ranked the global population at 7.7 billion.
Meanwhile, Egypt is giving out every indication that it aspires to implement far-reaching economic reforms that will grow the economy, boost productivity and curb unemployment. Some economists argue there might be an upside to population growth if handled strategically. Provided the country invests in the youthful population, Egypt will transform into an economic powerhouse like India and China.
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Egypt’s population now at 100 million