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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Refining the issues for realistic population-development policies in Africa
Author:Kamuzora, C.L.
Periodical:The African Review: A Journal of African Politics, Development and International Affairs
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:population policy
Birth control
Fertility decline
government policy
Abstract:The critical issues in the debate on the interrelationship between population and development in sub-Saharan Africa are basically four. Their common denominator is reduction of current high fertility. The first concerns the socioeconomic implications of old age structures resulting from fertility decline, in particular the possibility of a shortage of labour and the problems of taking care of the aged. The second concerns the danger for Africa of rapid decline in fertility, no longer a hypothetical possibility but a phenomenon which in some areas, notably Kenya, has actually already started. The third involves the alleged maternal and child health advantages of relatively late age at start of childbearing, as advocated by the modern family planning movement. (The author contends that starting childbearing at the age of sixteen is not only ideal from a purely biological point of view but also rational, given the prevailing realities of high mortality in Africa and the parents' desire to be survived by adult children.) The fourth issue concerns environmental protection. (Here the author argues that in view of the current disproportionately high levels of production and consumption in the developed countries, it is debatable whether the critical threats to the environment derive from the population growth rates of underdeveloped countries.) In conclusion, the author does not deny that low population growth is desirable. The question is rather the rate of decline of current high fertility: for Africa a rapid decline in fertility would be disastrous. Bibliogr.