9, 4.4, 2.4, 1.2 or 0.6 billion? How many Africans do Africans want?

High fertility rates in Africa leave the continent in a poverty trap with economic growth swamped by rising populations and degradation of ecosystems (soils, forests, water resources, forages) Africans rely on to support life. Europeans, North Americans and more recently many Asian countries achieved rapid income growth in part by cutting fertility rates. Europeans average at least 3 children per woman less than Africans. The UN medium population projection for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2100 is 4.4 billion, a number that assumes falling fertility rates. Projecting current natural increase (births minus deaths) gives over 9 billion by 2100. Africans should be working to adopt modern contraceptions and developed country family size norms. With current population of 1.2 billion Africans development looks possible. With 9 or even 4.4 billion Africans, it is reasonable to predict more violence, land degradation and increasing poverty. So, why isn’t family planning on your list of issues?

Max Kummerow . maxkummerow@yahoo.com

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