Kenyaâ€™s population growth rate of 3 percent per year is threatening the countryâ€™s capacity to meet the basic needs of the current population of 40 million people. Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 Permanent Secretary Dr. Edward Sambili says for the country to attain development goals outlined in the Kenya Vision 2030 managing the population growth is key for Kenya to achieve the status of a newly industrialized medium income country in the next two decades. Speaking while launching the State of the Kenyan Population Report, Sambili encouraged Kenyans to embrace family planning as the one million growth rate was unsustainable.
However, he noted that in a world of 7 billion people Kenya had made some strides in socio-economic and political development since 1960s largely because of a relatively well educated and hardworking population.
â€œKenyans today are living longer, families are having fewer children and more children are going to school. The country has made significant progress towards gender parity in development,â€ said the Permanent Secretary.
But inequalities still reduce access to basic public services by segments of the population such as the youth, women and the aged.
Maternal mortality is high with 7,500 women dying every year from pregnancy related conditions. Youth unemployment is also a major challenge while the older persons are emerging as population issues of concern.
Dr. Sambili said the need to reduce inequalities and ensure the wellbeing of all Kenyans will require new thinking and serious global cooperation.
â€œThis would enable the country to provide safe and effective reproductive health services including family planning. If for example young people are facilitated to enjoy their rights in education, health and employment they can contribute to poverty reduction in the community,â€ he added.
Although Kenya has enjoyed a robust economy over the years, with a booming population growth, the country faces a serious unemployment problem and food shortages. The problem is aggravated by a shortage of available arable land.
More than two-thirds of the land is designated as arid or semi-arid land where agriculture is impossible without heavy investment in irrigation equipment.
The Government on its part is committed to train the youths and has introduced safety-nets to support the most vulnerable segments of the population. These initiatives include; the Economic Stimulus Projects, Womenâ€™s Fund, Youth Fund and various devolved project funds to create jobs.
Nairobi â€“ November 2, 2011