Balance population growth with GDP growth

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According to a 2021 document by the National Population Council, Uganda's population growth rate is estimated to be 3.0% per annum (annually). The 2022 Uganda Demographic Health Survey Report (UDHS) Households states that households have an average of 4.5 members and that 49% of Uganda’s population is under age 15. The 2022 UDHS further states that Women have an average of 5.2 children. Women 18.7 years, and their aged 25-49 have first sex at a median age of 16.9 years, first marriage Median Age at first birth (25-49) at 19.5years and additively 23.5% of women age 15-19 are pregnant with their first child or are already mothers.

Such population growth statistics pause both challenges and opportunities. The World Bank advocates for balanced growth, where population growth doesn't outpace economic growth (GDP growth). This ensures there are sufficient resources (food, water, energy) to sustain a growing population while maintaining living standards. “If the country’s population is growing above 3%, that means our GDP should grow at 9% 3 times more and yet our estimated GDP growth is between 5 – 7%” says Dr. Elly Twineyo Kamugisha the executive director Uganda export promotion board.

Skilling and education are one of the antidotes suggested by the experts as they say, staying in school delays delivery decisions, especially by women if Uganda is to achieve the demographic dividend. Several reports have however sadly indicated an upward trend in teenage pregnancies arising from early marriages, early sexual engagement, and defilement among other factors. The UDHS 2022 report indicates that 5% of teenage women aged 15-19 have ever been pregnant while 2% of women aged 20-24 were married before age 15. However, the supporters of exponential population growth point out that the populations are customers and consumers of goods produced which drives economic growth since they provide a Market and labour.

However, the question that remains to answer is, what is the quality of the population?

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