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Population Growth Still Too High, Says President

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, 18 June 2003

Addis Ababa Ethiopia is facing enormous pressure from its spiraling population growth, which it needs to curb, Ethiopian President Girma Wolde Giorgis said on Tuesday.

Despite the country’s efforts to tackle the population explosion we cannot say we have gone a long way forward, Giorgis noted. The fact of the matter is that our country is still one of those countries with high rates of population growth. Leon H. Sullivan Summit

Some 67 million people live in Ethiopia, whose population grows each year by 2.7 percent. More than half its people live on less than US$1 a day.

Giorgis told a symposium at the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa that uncontrolled population growth threatened the economic stability of a nation and that, in already poor countries like Ethiopia, it could lead to massive deforestation, soil erosion and additional strain on agricultural land. It further exacerbates the declining state in production there by aggravating the existing problem of lack of food security and self-sufficiency, he told delegates. No less significant is its negative impact on education, health and the supply of clean water and other social services in both urban and rural centres.

His comments came at the launch of the tenth anniversary of the National Population Policy on Ethiopia, which aims to balance the country’s demographic growth with its natural resources by boosting the awareness of communities on the dangers of un-checked growth. He said that the expansion of reproductive health centres throughout Ethiopia would help address population growth but more families must have access to family planning.

However, many impoverished rural families say they have no choice but to have large families to help raise their incomes.