Wed, 17 Feb 2021 - 11:07 GMT
FILE - Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala al-Said
CAIRO – 17 February 2021: In her speech before the president during the inauguration of a number of healthcare projects Tuesday, Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said presented different scenarios pertinent to possible rates of population growth.
Speculations for 2052
"The country is witnessing a rapid and steady increase in population growth rates, noting that the number of births in 2020 recorded 2.332 million at a rate of 194,000 births per month, 6480 births per day, and one birth every 13 seconds," El-Said explained.
She noted that despite the efforts of the state, the general trend of the demographic issue in Egypt is moving in the direction of decline and then rise.
El-Said presented the analysis of the population pyramid according to the 2006 and 2017 censuses. She clarified that according to the 2006 census, the broad base was the youth from the age of 15 to the age of 24, while in the 2017 census it became from the age of zero to the age of 9 years, as it is the largest age group representing 25% of the population.
She stressed that if the necessary demographic policies are not taken, another population boom is expected in the period between 2030 and 2042 having infants aged between 0 and 19.
El-Said pointed to the goals of Egypt 2030 vision, explaining that the total fertility rate in 2017 was an average of 3.4 children per woman, and the average moderate scenario target was to reach 2.4 children per woman in 2032 to and 1.9 children per woman in 2052.
The best-case scenario is reaching 2.1 children per woman in 2032 and 1.6 children per woman in 2052.
The minister explained that if fertility rates continue at an average of 3.4 children per woman, the population will reach 130 million citizens in 2032. And, if the fertility rate is applied to the average scenario, 7 million births will not happen in 2032, and 37.6 million births in 2052.
While in the best-case scenario, 9.9 million births will not happen in 2032 and 47.7 million births in 2052.
Health and Education
El-Said indicated that public investments directed to human development (health and education) witnessed a 506% growth, recording a total of LE 225 billion from 2014/2015 until 2020/2021.
El-Said showcased that there are international successful experiences in reducing the fertility rate, including Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Iran. On the implications of overpopulation, she pointed out to the rise in unemployment rates, poverty rates, environmental pollution as well as low per capita educational and health services and the decline in the per capita share of water.
She asserted that controlling population growth and improving the population's characteristics have to go in tandem.
"High rates of population growth effaces the results of development efforts and negatively affects the citizen's standard of living and quality of life," the minister noted.
El-Said added that if the current fertility rate of 3.4 children per woman continued until 2052, the number of students in pre-university education would reach 40.4 million, which would require providing 1.8 million teachers, 1.7 million classrooms, which needs four times the current capabilities.
Reaching a population of 191.3 million people in 2052 will require the provision of 289,002 doctors, 479,000 nurses, and 812500 hospital beds, nine times the current capabilities.
The minister added that by achieving the average scenario of reducing the fertility rate to 1.9 children/women by the year 2052, the number of students in pre-university education stages will reach 25.4 million students, which requires the provision of 1.15 million teachers and one million classrooms, and the population will reach 153.7 million people. This scenario will require 232,800 doctors, 385,500 nurses, and 654,200 beds.
Sustainable Development and Indicators
Regarding the Egypt 2030 achievements, she cited the Cambridge University report in 2019, which ranked Egypt 92nd among 162 countries in sustainable development index. In a 2020 report, Egypt advanced to the 83rd rank among 166 countries. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission, ESCWA, made it clear that Egypt ranks first at the level of Arab countries in the national platforms for sustainable development.
Egypt net international reserves now cover eight and half months of commodity imports, a 142% increase over 2020 targets, the minister stated. While inflation recorded 5.3% in FY 2019/20, 134% over the target, the same was echoed in unemployment which recorded 7.3%, with an achievement rate of 127% over the target in 2020.
Furthermore, Egypt improved competitiveness indicators to reach the 23rd position, road quality index by achieving 42nd place, and reduction of the number of hepatitis C infections per hundred thousand of the population by 100% as a result of health initiatives.
"Egypt achieved positive growth rates compared to countries of the world despite the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the growth rate to 3.6%.
Regarding the most prominent challenges facing the state, she underlined women's low participation in the labor market, explaining that despite the support that Egyptian women receive from the political leadership in assuming higher positions in public institutions, the rates of women's participation remain lower at the national level.
Although women participation in the Egyptian government and state institutions is higher than the target, the target for women's participation in the labor market in general has not been reached. That is why governmental agencies and ministries have set plans for financing small and micro enterprises for women, training programs to qualify women for the labor market, as well as gender-responsive programs and budgets.
About the challenge of informal employment, El-Said explained that the plans and policies that have been put in place to achieve the target were the initiatives of financial inclusion, automation of services, and incentives in the Small and Medium Enterprises Law.