Population Results Shock Gov’t

Government last Friday officially launched the 2014 national population report amidst concerns about its status and composition.

The report was launched by State Investment Minister Gabriel Ajedra alongside the World Population Report, mind at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.

In his speech, Minister Ajedra expressed worry that the national population which currently stands at 34.9 million,  is predominantly youthful about (75 percent).

Ajedra stated that government’s worry remains how to manage and contain the growing number of youths amidst the widespread unemployment levels.

“Government realizes now that there has got to be more planning and better policy interventions if we are going to harness our population dividends,” he said.

“The days of graduating with a guaranteed post in the workforce are long behind us; now we must support our youths to initiate their own productive activities. Some have succeeded in setting up their own projects especially in the agricultural sector, but only a few.”

The population census which was delayed by three years indicated a national population growth of 3.03%.

This was attributed to the country’s high fertility rate, (about 6 children per woman), and a declining mortality rate over the past years.

Such fast growth if not matched with steady economic growth, the Minister noted, would place the nation in peril in the near future.

He further highlighted a need for emphasis on quality education, noting that counties like the Asian Tigers which were at the same GDP level with Uganda in the 1960s, managed to sprout fast into world giants, because of their specific and practical education systems.

At the launch, United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) country representative Mrs Esperance Fundira said Uganda still had a chance of taking advantage of its fast growing population.

She noted that with good government leadership and well functioning planning bodies like NPA, realizing population dividends would be a matter of time since the biggest (youth) section of the populace would soon be joining the workforce.

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