Overpopulation is often one of the major causes of poverty. A lack of educational resources along with high death rates often go hand in hand with higher birth rates, resulting in large booms in population growth. The United Nations predicted that the poorest countries in the world are the biggest contributors to population growth. Uganda is one of the poorest developing countries in the world. There are many problems associated with overpopulation In Uganda.

High Fertility Rates

The poorest developing countries are usually the ones with the highest fertility rates and the ones with the least amount of resources to support their population growth. It has been proven that fertility rates in African nations are higher than in Western nations. One of the problems is that more developed nations are the ones that consume most of the resources, leaving the least possible amount to support the populations in African nations.

In addition to this, the lack of sexual education and family planning is a major cause of overpopulation in this region. Only 20 percent of Uganda’s women have access to contraception. Women in Uganda have an average of 7 children, which is higher the African average of 5.1 but more than double that of the global average of 2.7. Ugandan government’s lack of responsibility in improving family planning is a major reason for the country’s exponential population growth.

Population Increases

Presently there are 27.7 million people living in Uganda. By 2025, this number is estimated to double to 56 million people, making Uganda the nation with the world’s biggest population growth (at a rate of 3.3 percent). This kind of growth definitely continues to make resources more scarce in this region of the world. With already 19.5 percent of Uganda’s population living in poverty, efforts to decrease poverty rates will fail unless measures are taken.

As much as 78 percent of the population in Uganda are under the age of 30. Experts say that such big population will be a burden to the economy unless it is transformed into a working force. One major reason for the vast increase in the youth population was a need for family security, often to help with labor. There is minimal industrialization in many developing countries, so people have kids in order to have more help on the farm.

Unemployment and Overpopulation

Currently, 83 percent of young people have no formal employment. This is partly due to low economic growth, slow labor markets, high population growth rates, the rigid education system, rural-urban migration and limited access to capital. This boom in population growth is bound to put pressure on the economy by straining resources if the high birth rates are not controlled.

The major problem of Uganda’s young population is an increasing dependency burden at the household level with a related increase in demand for social services like health and education, which are not growing at the same pace as its population.  For example, classrooms in public schools are overcrowded due to growth in school populations. One cause for the growth in the population has been an increase in unwanted births, leading back to the idea that family planning is an essential part of reducing overpopulation in Uganda.

Solutions to Overpopulation in Uganda

There are many possible solutions to overcoming the overpopulation crisis in Uganda. Experts highlight the need for a long-term plan that focuses on the role of the family, the government, the private sector and society in helping young people to become productive. By reducing the problems with overpopulation in Uganda, the economy will benefit through taxes and more sustained production of goods and services.

Family planning services would reduce fertility levels and increase the proportion of employed adults to young dependents.  Furthermore, promoting family planning by educating men and women about contraception will play a key role in reducing fertility rates. A reduction in “fertility was achieved in the West over the course of a century of female education, national family planning services and the introduction of job opportunities for women.” Therefore, it is important to empower women by giving them access to reproductive health services as well as better economic options. The United Nations aims to tackle this issue by running microcredit projects to turn young women into advocates for reproductive health.

Another solution is government incentives. Governments must promote responsible parenthood and limit subsidies to the first two children unless the family is living in poverty. This can also be accomplished by promoting child spacing and having fewer children. In certain urban regions of the country, there are ads showing happy couples with just one or two children.

Cutting exponential population growth will give Uganda’s natural resources a higher chance of supporting the human burden. Government intervention through family planning by educating people on contraception methods and empowering women by enhancing female education are important steps towards reducing problems associated with overpopulation in Uganda and decreasing poverty.

Mayra Vega

Photo: Google

The youth unemployment rate in developing countries does not reflect the same trends as in developed economies. Increasing education and improving job quality are proven solutions to this trend.

Globally, youth employment rates have increased since 2012. However, the progress does not seem to be reflected in developing countries.

“The jobless rate…increased in most of Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa,” as compared to the EU, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the International Labour Organization, global youth unemployment has plateaued from 2009 to present, hovering around 13 percent. Unsurprisingly, the countries with the highest rates include North Africa (at 30.5 percent, 2014 expected) and the Middle East (at 28.2 percent, 2014 expected) and those rates are actually on the decline.

The most recent report done by the ILO, Global Employment Trends for Youth 2015, argues that the youth markets in developing countries suffer from instability and structural issues.

The report highlights a lack of participation in education, poor quality of jobs and gender gaps as key issues that need reform.

Most importantly, the report places an emphasis on education and training opportunities for youth.

“Ideally, these [findings] will shape future investments in youth employment as countries continue to prioritize youth in their national policy agendas,” says the ILO.

The ILO calls for macroeconomic policies and fiscal incentives that support employment, as well as demand-side interventions, among numerous other concrete solutions.

Yellowwood, an independent brand consultancy in South Africa, has started a project to confront local youth employment challenges. Called Harambee, the project prepares first-time employees for work through an intensive bridging program that leads to permanent jobs.

“Harambee provides a model for a long-term solution to youth unemployment, by showing the importance of business and government working together to address the problem.”

Using Harambee as an example, both developing governments and businesses should work together to find solutions to the youth unemployment crisis.

Ashley Tressel

Sources: VOA News, ILO 1, ILO 2, McKinsey On Society
Photo: Flickr