, NAIROBI, Kenya July 22 – Kenya needs to check its population growth rate just like its Vision 2030, benchmarking countries like Singapore and Malaysia, in order to achieve sustained development.
According to the CEO of the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development, Dr Boniface K’Oyugi, a sustained population growth rate of 2.9 percent will make Kenya’s population to hit 70 million mark in 2030.
Dr K’Oyugi said that the Draft National Population policy is aimed at encouraging Kenyans to establish smaller families which are sustainable.
“This is policy that would like to align the aspirations of vision 2030 so that population can support the targets of the vision,” he said adding that the population pressure also impacts negatively on the environment.
“Kenya wants to be like the Asian tigers (Singapore and Malaysia) but when you compare the population growth in these countries is 0.6 and 1.6 percent respectively,” he added.
“People are having a maximum of two children,” just a perfect replacement of the couple.
The policy also seeks to promote the participation of both men and women in decision making at all levels including reproductive health.
Further, it will advocate for the provision of equitable affordable quality reproductive health services including family planning.
Dr K’Oyugi said that the population aims to reduce the population growth rate in order to harmonize it with economic growth and the attainment of vision 2030.
The policy will also fully integrate population concerns into development planning as well as reducing fertility and mortality rates that sustain a high population growth rate.
“Planning is for the people, so before you start thinking of constructing a school or a health facility you must study the population base. If you keep on doing development without studying population trends then you misallocate resources,” he further asserted.
The population of Kenya was projected to be approximately 39.4 million in 2009 (Kenya Demographic Health and Survey of 2008/09), with a population density of 67.7 persons per square kilometer and a life expectancy at birth of 58.9 years.
The population is estimated to grow at an annual rate of 2.8 percent.
Approximately 80 percent of Kenya’s population is found in the rural areas.
The population of persons aged 15 years and below of age is estimated to comprise 43 percent of the total population.
Those aged between 15-64 years constitute 51percent while those aged 65 year and above account for 4 percent.
The age dependency ratio in Kenya in 2008/09 was 96, having increased from 92 in 2003.
The youth are estimated to comprise 31.6 percent of the population.