Overpopulation in Africa
Over population is a huge problem for the people of Africa. The sub-Saharan population is increasing at the rate of 2.5 percent annually. This is double the rate of both Asia and Latin America. If this rate is not decreased the population of Africa will double by the year 2036 (from 2008). Countries like Ethiopia and Nigeria could even triple in population within the next fifty years. If Africa remains on this course catastrophic consequences such as mass starvation and war could occur.
Reasons for Overpopulation in Africa
The reason for this population explosion is a sharp decline in infant and child mortality rates coupled with a high fertility rate. With the exception of South Africa, African women have 5.5 children (average) during their life. This rate has been slowly decreasing but not enough to decrease the population growth significantly. It should also be noted that the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa does not have a major impact on decreasing the population. Programs implemented to decrease this horrible epidemic are starting to show promising results and original estimates of the effect on the population has been decreased.
The Effect of Overpopulation in Africa
Below is a list of some of the negative effects overpopulation can have on the people of Africa.
- The environment can be negatively affected. With an increase in the population there comes an increase in waste that must be disposed of. Often this waste is simply dumped on land or in the water supply. An example of this is the incredible amount of raw sewage dumped into Africa’s largest lake, Lake Victoria.
- Scarce resources can cause tension and fighting among the people of Africa.
- The economies of African countries can be put under great stress as the governments struggle to feed, educate, and keep the ever growing population healthy.
There is hope for the people of Africa to get their population problem under control. More and more African countries are implementing population policies. Today over twenty five countries have population policies compared to only two in 1986. These countries are implementing family planning programs into their health systems. These programs can have incredible results as has been proven by the north African country of Tunisia. In the 1960s Tunisia had a fertility rate much higher than most African countries today. Through family planning and education programs the fertility rate has dropped to 2.1 percent. Family planning programs have also had major positive effects in Latin America and Asia over the past few decades.