Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe, says the ever growing population in the country is dissolving the economic gains the country has attained since independence.
Gondwe made the observation on Tuesday at the opening of the National Population and Development Conference held at the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe where he also launched Demographic Dividend Report.
The minister said although many people thought Malawi as a country had not progressed economically, there was tremendous development that had been recorded since independence.
As a country we have made tremendous gains over the years but why the impact is not reflected on our economy, is because the gains have been dissipated by population growth, said Gondwe.
If you close your eyes and look at Lilongwe in 1964 for instance, close your eyes and look at Lilongwe now, you will understand the economic gains we have made as a country in all areas.
Gondwe said population growth had derailed all the efforts made to get the country up the economic ladder and that there was need for real action.
He said there were a number of studies that had been done, with credible recommendations made and that it was now time to act.
As we continue to develop, we should be determined to reduce population growth, said Gondwe. We know what we should be doing in all sectors be it agriculture, education, health et-cetera; but what we need is action.
Next time we should be emphasizing on implementation of the recommendations made based on various studies.
US Charge d’affaires, Andrew Herrup and UN Resident Coordinator, Mia Seppo, also expressed concerns over the growing population in the country and the two called on stakeholders to join hands.
Curbing Malawi population growth requires multi-sectoral approach, advised Herrup, and warned: If we do not take the issue of population growth seriously, most of the MDGs we have achieved as a country will be lost.
He said US government would continue to support Malawi through various programs such as ASPIRE – the project aimed at empowering girls through education and health; and the DREAMS project aimed at preventing the spread of HIV to girls and young women; and ACT program to ensure that HIV+ children – boys and girls – get the life-saving treatment they need.
UN Resident Coordinator, Seppo, observed that at no time had there been so many young people in the world in general and in Malawi in particular, hence the need for the country to enhance contraceptives among the youth, so as to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted.
The National Population Development Conference is scheduled to run from 6 8 September, 2016 and it has drawn participants from various sectors among them reproductive health, education, civil society organizations, development partners and the clergy.
The theme for the conference is ‘Empowering, Educating, and Employing Youth to Harness the Demographic Dividend and Achieve Sustainable Development in Malawi.’