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What are the consequences of rapid population growth in Africa?


What are the consequences of rapid population growth in Africa?



The costs of rapid population growth are cumulative: more births today make the task of slowing population growth later difficult, as today's children become tomorrow's parents. In general, food supplies and agricultural production must be greatly increased to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population; this limits the allocation of resources to other economic and social sectors.
Secondly, the rapid increase in population means that there will be an increase in the dependency ratio. This implies that the country concerned will have to allocate increasing resources to feed, clothe, house and educate the useful component of the population which consumes but dopes not produce goods and services.
Thirdly, a rapidly growing population has serious implications for the provision of productive employment Since the rapid)id population growth]is normally accompanied by a proportionate increase in the supply of the labour force, it means that the rate of job creation should match the rate of supply force In Africa the rate of labour force supply has outstripped that of job creation, implying that the rates of unemployment have been increasing rapidly In other words, the number of people seeking employment increases more rapidly than the number of available jobs This kind of situation poses a menacing problem for society.
When an ever-growing number of workers cannot be absorbed in the modern economic sectors of the African countries the workers are forced either into unproductive service occupations or back into the traditional section with its low productivity and low subsistence wage levels. This large supply for cheap labour tends to hold back technological change, and industrialization is slowed by mass poverty which in turn reduces the demand for manufactured goods. The end results are low saving rates and low labor skills, both of which inhibit the full development and utilization of natural resources in some African countries. In other countries, the growing population would outrun the levels at which renewable resources could be sustained, and the resource bases would deteriorate.
Thus, widespread poverty, low labour productivity, the growing demand for food and slow industrialization distort and degrade the international trade of countries.
Rapid population growth rates also have ramifications for political and social conflicts among different ethnic, religious, linguistic and social groups. As population growth rapidly, there will be increasing demands for governmental services in health, education, welfare and other functions cause of or even the major contributing factor in violence aggression, the large proportions of young people, particularly those unemployed or have little hope for a satisfactory future, might form disruptive and potentially explosive political force.
The cost adequacy and nature of health and welfare services might be affected by rapid population growth in much the same way as are those of educational services. In the individual family death and illness might be increased by high fertility easy and frequent pregnancies, and the necessity of caring for excessive numbers of children. It should also be noted that the physical and mental development of children are often retraced in large families because of in adequate nutrition and the prevalence of diseases associated with poverty, and also because the children are provided of sufficient adult contact.
Another major consequence of rapid Africa's population growth is the phenomenal growth rate of urban population. Due to an increase in the total population, the Africa's urban population will reach 377 million and 1,271 million levels for the years 2000 and 2025, respectively. Without adequate provision of housing facilities, the rapid population growth rate will result in poor and crowded housing in the urban slums of the rapidly growing cities, and this could also produce further social problems.
Rapid urbanization has also caused stresses in many African economies. Africa is still very largely rural and agricultural, as some 75% of all Africans live outside cities and towns. Nevertheless, during the past generation, urbanization has increased at an alarming pace. More than 42% of all population, compared with only 8% in 1960. In fact, there were only two cities in the continent with populations exceeding 500,000 in 1960. If recent trends should continue, Africa will have 60 cities with population of more than 1,000,000 by the year 2000 as against 19 cities in 1993. It should be noted that in 1950, only Cairo had a population of more than 1,000,000 in the entire African continent.
This rapid urban population growth has been caused by factors such as prospects for more jobs, access to medical treatment, and general attractions of urban lives. Many migrants to the cities, however, have discovered that their prospects are not significantly improved by relocation, and unemployment and underemployment are rampant in every major city in Africa. Increases in population cause a number of serious problems. With an average annual growth rate in agriculture of about 2.5 o self sufficiency in food production becomes a more elusive goal. Additionally, high population growth puts pressures on the soil by decreasing the time it is allowed to lay fallow; pastures land declines and the result is over grazing, which in turn causes in creased friction between farmers and herders.
It is noted that population growth is closely correlated with the number of children per woman and in the countries where the primary school enrollment for girls is nigh it is found that the infant mortality is lower. The fertility rate is also negatively correlated with the number of girls registered in primary school showing that education of women is a crucial variable in the explanation of the fertility tendency observed in African countries and accordingly constitutes and important factor of the relation between demographic growth and development.
Population growth affects the increase of urban areas through the process of n migration. Fertility is higher among population working on agriculture than it is in urban population. As a result rural-urban migration takes place. This could cause serious shortage of labour force in the area of origin and as a consequence lack of food supply while it could cause an excess of labour , increased demand for health and education services and could create rapid urbanization and development of towns in the areas of destination.
Population growth remains rapid in many poor countries. For example, the population of West Africa is expanding at an annual rate of 2.6 % and is expected to more than quadruple in size by the end of the century. The projected addition of one billion people to the region’s current population of 320 million is an obstacle to development and makes it difficult to be optimistic about the future of this and other regions with similar demographic and socio-economic conditions. There are several reasons for concern:

a) Environmental degradation: Global environmental problems (e.g. climate change, decreasing biodiversity) receive much media and scientific attention in the West, but are not a high priority for policy makers in poor countries, except where substantial populations live in low lying coastal areas (e.g. Bangladesh). Instead, most developing countries have critical local environmental problems that require urgent attention, including shortages of fresh water and arable land, and water, air and soil pollution. Environmental stresses have been building up over time and are likely to become much more severe as populations and economies expand further.

b) Economic stagnation: In poor societies population sizes often double in two or three decades. As a result, industries, housing, schools, health clinics, and infrastructure must be built at least at the same rate in order for standards of living not to deteriorate. Many communities are unable to keep up, as is evident from high unemployment rates, explosive growth of slum populations, overcrowded schools and health facilities and dilapidated public infrastructure (i.e. roads, bridges, sewage systems, piped water, electric power. In addition, rapidly growing populations have young age structures. The resulting low ratio of workers to dependents depresses standards of living and makes it more difficult to invest in the physical and human capital needed for expanding economies. The size of the formal labour force is also limited by the need for women to remain at home to take care of large families.

c) Maternal mortality: High birth rates imply frequent childbearing throughout the potential reproductive years. Each pregnancy is associated with a risk of death, and this risk rises with age of the mother and the order of the pregnancy. In the least developed countries the life-time risk of dying from pregnancy related causes is near 5% and many more women suffer related health problems or disabilities.

d) Political unrest: Half the population of the least developed world is under age 20. Unemployment is widespread because economies are unable to provide jobs for the rapidly growing number of young people seeking to enter the labour force. Vigorous competition for limited numbers of jobs leads to low wages which in turn contributes to poverty. The presence of large numbers of unemployed and frustrated males likely contributes to socio-economic tensions, high crime rates and political instability.

Of course, population growth is not the only or even the main cause of poverty in the developing world. Nevertheless population growth has pervasive adverse effects on societies and hinders development efforts. Poor countries would be better off with lower population growth rates.
francis1897 answered the question on January 12, 2023 at 09:01

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