The second session of the Population Issue Committee held on Thursday under the title Diagnosing the Population Situation in Egypt and Improving Population Characteristics. Photo : National Dialogue
This came during the session titled Diagnosing the Population Situation in Egypt and Improving Population Characteristics which was held as part of the social axis during the second week of the National Dialogue that kicked off in Cairo last week.
"We do not need new strategies but must activate and finance the National Population and Development Strategy (2015-2030). This strategy works on five axes: family planning services, youth and teenagers, education, empowering women, and media and social communication,” Talat Abdel-Gawad, a member of the Board of Trustees of the dialogue said.
The National Population Strategy aims to improve the quality of life for citizens by improving family planning and reproductive health services and giving special attention to family planning programs.
Abdel-Gawad emphasized that the population issue threatens national security, stating that it is necessary to establish three laws to prevent school evasion, child marriage, and child labour.
Egypt’s population stood at 104.6 million, according to the latest figures released by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS). The population is expected to reach 160 million by 2050, according to a report by the Cabinet Information, Decision, and Support Centre (IDSC).
Abdel-Gawad noted how overpopulation affects the share of water a person receives, bearing in mind that water in Egypt is already scarce and will become even more so by 2050.
“Every 11 citizens live on one acre of land. We import 95 percent of our oil, 45 percent of our wheat, and 55 percent of our beans. Our hospitals and schools are overcrowded, and the quality of education is so poor,” Abdel-Gawad explained.
For her part, MP Abla Al-Alfie said there was a need for new and innovative solutions to the population issue given its essential role in achieving economic growth.”
Al-Alfie, a member of the Health Committee in the Parliament, added that the citizens, rather than the state, should demand a solution for the population issue.
“Egypt will witness the largest population explosion in the coming decades, with a significant decline in physical and health characteristics, as a result of what has happened over the past five decades,” population expert Ahmed Sakr Ashour stated.
Ashour added that according to the latest statistics, population growth is the reason for the ineffectiveness of the development plans.
Moreover, he said that poverty, which brings along a lack of awareness and a tendency to absorb radical religious ideologies, is the reason for population growth.
Ashour argued that the legislators and the government are responsible for this file, adding that the issue should be integrated into all stages of education.
He also emphasized the importance of family planning and called for reconsidering past policies.
Egypt has tried to curb overpopulation through many initiatives.
In March, Egypt launched a new initiative called Osra (family) to provide young Egyptians with information on voluntary family planning. It also gave reproductive health options for healthy and sustainable child spacing.
In 2020, the government launched Etnein Kefaya (two are enough) campaign, which offered financial assistance to those who succeed in family planning.