Government should devise urgent mechanisms to lower the country’s population growth rate to at least 2.2 percent from the current 2.8, according to the civil society platform.
According to a report by the Civil society, population growth should be reflected in the ongoing implementation phase of the Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS).
The report that was released on Tuesday is the result of a survey conducted to determine the achievements and challenges experienced during the implementation of EDPRS-1.
Titled “Optimising space offered through EDPRS-2 to leverage livelihood”, the report aims at communicating and guiding Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to play an effective role towards the successful implementation of EDPRS-2.
The five-year development plan was launched this year.
This come shortly after a meeting that brought together CSO`s, to discuss their role in the implementation of the strategy.
“The rate at which the population is growing is one of the major threats to economic and national development. If no effective measures are taken, it might even exceed based on the fertility rate,” said Jean Claude Ngendandumwe, the Executive Secretary of the platform.
The United Nation’s Population Fund (UNFPA), echoed a similar call during this year`s celebrations to mark the International Population Day. In its statement, UNFPA said the high population growth rate was a threat to economic gains.
CSO`s records indicate that the fertility rate currently stands at 4.6 percent, which has led to the high growth rate.
According to the report that will be presented to the Development Partners’ retreat on EDPRS-2, effective measures must be taken to ensure that fertility drops to at least 3.4 percent.
An independent consultant, James Tumwine, said that there is need to intensify reproductive health education particularly family planning methods.
“There should be a strong mechanism through which the population is not only sensitised about family planning methods, but should also have easy access to these services as this will enable them to embark on using the available means,” he said.
The findings of the survey also highlight various measures that stakeholders must address to build on the existing development projects to fight poverty and attain the expected economic transformation.
Among others, CSOs believe that increased access and generation of electricity would not only spur development, but also promote industrialisation.
They also advocate for modern farming methods to increase production and enhance food security as well as promotion of ICT to build a knowledge based economy.