“For every pound spent on family planning there will be 56 in return,” assures a hands-on study on the financial benefits of family planning programmes in Egypt.
A Monday seminar co-organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Center for Economic and Financial Research Studies (CEFRS) at Cairo University discussed the findings of the study “Cost -Benefit Analysis of Egypt Family Planning Programme, 2014- 2050″.
The seminar panel consisted of UNFPA’s representative in Egypt Jaime Nadal, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences (FEPS) Hala El-Said, Population Ministry representative Sahar Youssef, Planning Ministry representative Mohamed Abdel Shakour and the Health Ministry’s head of population and family planning division, Atef Al-Shitany.
The seminar was also attended by representatives from the USAID, World Bank, WHO among others.
The study, co-authored by Heba Nassar and Jasmin Fouad from Cairo University’s Faculty of Economics and Political Sciences (FEPS), is a follow up of an earlier study conducted by the USAID’s Policy Project (Chao, 2005). The latter aimed to demonstrate the financial benefits and costs of family planning programmes in Egypt, and to help governments in their decision to allocate their scarce resources to such programmes.
The research estimated the number of births averted due to the family planning programme at 43.31 million for the period 2014-2050, at an estimated cost for the planning programmes of around EGP 8bn.
Economics Professor Heba Nassar said during the seminar: “We teach students at the faculty that when you find a positive internal rate of return (IRR) you should invest, what about a 200% IRR?”
According to the study, released in February, the IRR, which refers to the effective interest rate of a certain project, for the family planning programmes 2014-2050 is 199.4%. The study states that “this is relatively high IRR compared to ordinary investment projects and would suggest the approval of this project”.
The study found that the average return for every Egyptian pound spent on the family planning programmes is estimated at EGP 56.12 for the period 2014-2050. This is in the form of saved governmental expenditure on health, education, food subsidy and housing that is directly related to population growth.
“The benefit-cost (EGP 56.12) is the sum of the benefit-cost of health (EGP 9.24), education (EGP 31.15), food subsidy (EGP 11.52) and housing and utilities (EGP 4.21),” the study illustrates.
“This high benefit-cost ratio suggests that continuing a successful family planning programme would help the Egyptian government as it will be able to use the saving in the general expenditure on social services in the improvement of the quality of social services provided in the health, education and housing sectors,” the UNFPA statement on the study read.
The study also put on two population projections based on two fertility scenarios. The first projection, based on the assumption of a constant contraceptives prevalence rate and fertility rate, estimates that by 2050 Egypt’s population will increase to 180 million. The second projection, based on the assumption of replacement fertility rate, predicts Egypt’s population will reach 137.45 million by 2050. It is noteworthy that the study estimates that Egypt will hit the 100 million mark by 2020.