As the world population clocks to seven billion on 31st October 2011, Rwanda’s population is increasing so fast yet the country’s surface area is small.
According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning statistics, Rwanda’s current growth rate is at 2.95 percent and if not checked may depress the country’s economic growth.
Rwanda’s current population is about 11 million, and if no measures are taken, the population will be about 21.5 million by 2050.
Thomas Nsengiumva, an expert in Family Planning Methods in the Ministry of Health said, “Rwandans like giving birth to several children.”
We are embarking on massive awareness campaigns to ensure that all Rwandans understand the benefits of family planning,” Nsengiumva added.
He attributes ignorance as a factor to population increase because families need to bear many children as a means of social recognition and economic survival.
Victoria Akyeapong, Resident Representative United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) believes that Rwanda’s measures to control population growth should be strengthened and supported since, the population is increasing so fast.
“Unwanted pregnancies among girls these days are behind the ever population increase, there is a need to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted and every childbirth is safe which leads to smaller and stronger families,” she said.
Akyeapong states that providing possibilities for young people is the key to sustainable development and a strong society, which can slow population growth rate.
Young people under 25 years represent more than 67 percent of the Rwandan population according to the Demographic Survey of 2010. Their choices will determine the next population wave.
African women used to space their children through abstinence and breastfeeding but these factors are now eroding because of urbanization and new lifestyles where modern contraception has not yet replaced these traditional birth spacing methods.
Strong measures should be taken to slow down the high population growth rate in Rwanda as the world reaches seven billion people.