Egypt’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Development has issued a report on Egypt’s population growth rates, in which it revealed the need to control the country’s rapidly expanding population.
The report also outlined the country’s targets for family planning programmes, and mechanisms for working on them, as part of the current fiscal year (FY) 2020/21 plan.
Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said said that the development plan looks to continue efforts aimed at improving the efficiency of human development indicators. It will also improve the quality of life among Egyptian citizens. This will take place through the provision of social and public services in terms of quantity and quality for all citizens, social groups and all regions of the state.
El-Said added that the plan’s application should take place in a manner that achieves a balance between growth and social justice considerations, as part of the “growth with equality” strategy, on which the sustainable development plan is based.
The minister said that the medium-term plan for sustainable development will include the population dimension in all areas of development, in recognition of the seriousness of the issue of population growth.
She also said that the plan means affirming the importance of controlling population growth and activating the relevant programmes to ensure citizens can access an improved quality of life. Part of this will see the achievement of optimal investment in human resources to enhance development efforts.
The current year’s plan includes several programme mechanisms aimed at controlling Egypt’s population growth. If activated, these would achieve positive results, including increasing the average real per capita income and making more public utility services and social structure available for low-income groups.
In addition, these would work to improve the quality of public services and the environment, by reducing pollution, congestion, noise, slums, and the deterioration of facilities. It would have the added benefit of reducing the financial burden on the state budget.
These mechanisms would include promoting family planning services and reproductive health, especially in rural areas. This would see adequate funds provided for family planning methods, while making them available at reasonable prices.
The report also includes activating literacy and female employment programmes, preventing child labour, and reformulating religious discourse to correct misconceptions, in recognition of the danger of uncontrolled overpopulation.
NGOs will play a major role in providing family planning services, as well as expanding the scope of the population reduction programme “Two is Enough”, which has been implemented in 10 Upper Egyptian governorates.
The work mechanisms also included positive incentives for small families within community development programmes, anti-poverty programmes, and conditional cash support. This would see more stringent methods and policies resorted to in case families that do not comply with of the birth control targets, such as the denial of conditional cash support or commodity support.
The report pointed out that the strict application of laws that prohibit child labour so that they are not seen as a source of income and the increase in female employment rates and training programmes that provide them with opportunities to join the labour market are among the mechanisms of programmes aimed at controlling the rate of population growth.
In addition to the updated religious discourses to correct false values and the general hesitancy in resorting to family planning, the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development aims to intensify media campaigns.
Focusing on the population increase, it will use mass media and methods of communication that are more compatible with the target groups, as it is intended to educate about 15 million women of childbearing age.
The report reviewed some developmental targets to curb the population increase as part of the FY 2020/21 plan. It is projected that 20.4 million Egyptian women will continue to benefit from family planning methods in FY 2020/2021, with the number of new female beneficiaries of family planning methods reaching 2.85 million.