Minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Nicholas Dausi has bemoaned the country’s rapid population growth since independence, saying it is exerting much pressure on resources and slowing economic growth.
Dausi said this on Tuesday in Karonga on the sidelines of a district executive committee (DEC) meeting where he briefed members on recent developments under his ministry.
The briefing was mainly on newly enacted laws, namely Access to Information (ATI) Act, Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act and the Communications Act.
Dausi said uncontrolled population growth is retrogressive to economic development as the country’s resources can never be adequate for everybody.
“The rate of population growth in Malawi is quite alarming; it is, in fact, one of the highest in the world, exceeding most developed countries.
“Imagine in 1964 when we got independence Malawi’s population was only about 2.5 million and in 2017 the population has increased to 17 million indicating that there is no control. But the land’s size and resources remain the same,’’ he said.
The minister cited the depletion of Viphya Plantation in Mzimba District.
“It was deemed the largest man-made forest in Central Africa; but, unfortunately, human activities have rendered the plantation almost bare, partly attributable to population pressure,” he said.
Dausi asked DEC members to take a leading role in sensitising communities to the importance of birth control saying if practised universally, Malawi’s economy would eventually grow.
Malawi’s rising population has been a serious cause for worry for the country’s socio-development, economy and environment for many years now.
According to statistics from the 2015-16 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey (MDHS) conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO), the country’s population stands at 17 749 826.
This statistic shows an increase of 3.11 percent from a similar survey carried out in 2010 whose rise was 2.99 percent from the preceding survey.
According to economist Dalitso Kubalasa, who is executive director at Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) this population boom poses a great threat to the country.