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World Bank Projects TZ to Hit 140M by 2050, Is it a Potential Catalyst for Poverty?

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The World Bank report on Tanzania paints a gloomy picture of our population data, extrapolating that every 23 years, we are doubling. As a result, we will be over 140 million by 2050. The Bank cautions that population growth outpacing economic growth does not augur well for our collective well-being; straining meagre resources may have far-reaching consequences.

Is the World Bank spot on, or should we dismiss it as an inconsequential alarmist eager to place us on fertility pills dwarfing our population size? This discourse revisits past and current pros and cons of population and depopulation while urging everybody to chill out.

Paradoxically, African population growth has been obfuscated by the “zero-sum” gamers who advocate that a gain must generate losers. In other words, proponents of the “zero-sum game” dismiss the notion of a “win-win” situation because, as far as they are concerned, that is a white lie. To zero-sum theorists, you win or lose; there is no middle ground.

With “zero-sum” gamers controlling and shaping the development agendas, it shocks a few that what is happening in Africa is interpreted as posing an existential threat to the Western powers. Therefore, if you have been following the concepts stipulated earlier in this discussion, you may quickly appreciate that there are motives behind persuading Africa to nip in the bud population growth for reasons that may have little to do with Africa.

There is one Western don who has been equating African success as a ground for war with the Western World! The “zero-sum game” paradigm moulds his argument. What he was urging Westerners to carefully consider was whether their countries could comfortably survive without exploitation of the African continent’s natural resources, which he ruled were the richest of all.

Read related: Population Bomb and Urban Sprawling: A Menace to Protection of Green Spaces in Dar es Salaam.

He attributed European economic prosperity to access to and exploitation of the African continent, which was now surging in population growth, endangering their ability to enjoy what the continent had to offer unimpeded.

The learned professor forewarned Europe that the outburst of the African population would stave off the resources for them as political pressure would grow to solve demands generated by population growth. He also predicted that the fight for control of African resources might turn violent, so European nations must begin to plan to go to war with the whole of Africa in case their strategic economic interests are severed by the pressure of serving population growth in Africa.

Others have suggested that African population growth must be put on a leash since technologies are available to check excess or unwanted babies from overwhelming resources that Europe needs for sustenance. Some quarters in Africa particularly the clergy have been harbouring suspicions on a slate of vaccines African children are inundated with.

The Pharisees have been preaching from the pulpit, dissuading their followers from taking a shot or preventing their little ones from having one. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the spike in preventive ailments such as leprosy is due to vaccine naysayers.

What we have learnt over the years is that population growth is a good thing for the same reasons the scoffers circulate to discourage having more babies. Countries that have advocated population stagnation are backpedalling as the growing population presents serious challenges. From China’s one-child policy to Asian Tigers embracing similar positions, they are now having second thoughts.

As seniors become the majority of society, funding their elaborate pension schemes becomes another headache while production is nosedive. No wonder these countries are now enticing their people to have more babies and are willing to pay monthly child support to dilute a well-seasoned argument children are too expensive to raise.

Also, read World Bank’s Initiative Financing for Resilient Agriculture in Tanzania.

The problem these countries face is a population trained to devalue and demean family institutions. So, telling them to reconsider well-bombed positions is a challenging onus to overcome. One South Korean woman was asked whether she will soon have babies that her government has set aside a substantial amount of money to ease the burden of raising children.

Her response was more like a tittering. She saw the whole melodrama as a waste of time. As far as she was concerned, life was more manageable, minus toddlers distracting her from her normalcy. She concluded that there was no way babes would soon fill her little apartment.

Where is Technology in Population Growth?

Experience has taught us that humanity is inherently lazy unless necessity nudges her from her comfort zone. We tend to be risk-averse and more inclined to endure banality. But population growth introduces new problems that will push us out of our comfort zone; it is a predicament we never like. Having been uprooted from hibernation, we begin to direct our synergies into solving bigger problems that ordinarily we will procrastinate on as not a matter of priorities. By doing so, progress pursues us like an avalanche.

All over the world, countries that are confronting the challenges of overpopulation can forge better solutions and survive. Resilience follows them wherever they go. However, countries that bury their talent underground out of fear of the arcane consequences of overpopulation tend to lag in development because they have no urgent reason to tackle the niggling issues arising from overpopulation.

Such reasoning makes plenty of sense because it aligns with the commandment of God that orders us to fill the world, and the world will be saturated with knowledge. Having more people is a blessing in disguise, as more technical knowhow is produced to address a myriad of challenges caused by the very problems many view with intense hostilities.

Of curious interest, the World Bank is not dabbling in discouraging overpopulation. Still, it offers prescriptions that, in totality, will mean more longevity, which adds to the statistics that some fear will quake the human race. The problem with the World Bank is not in circumventing the hot-button issues of overpopulation but in recommending the same failed prescriptions that have not wriggled us out of the coils of poverty.

Child survival rates will not encourage family planning because ageing parents ensure more children. Better education based on irrelevant syllabuses that instil values of employment rather than self-employment stirs nobody to have fewer children.

The World Bank remarks that Tanzania is one of eight countries worldwide that will contribute to almost half the global population by 2050. We welcome their opinion, but we are delighted that this country will never beg the ageing population to have children because, at that time, they will be chatting with their great-grandsons and daughters. They will have reason to reproduce, so to speak.

The author is a Development Administration specialist in Tanzania with over 30 years of practical experience, and has been penning down a number of articles in local printing and digital newspapers for some time now.

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Ally Kilengawana
Ally Kilengawana
1 month ago

We need to double our capacity in development strategy just to be where we are in 26 years to come…challenges we have now will double mean if we have little school,health facilities and infrastructure for communication and roads networks this thing will double….
Its high time to allocate more fund and expenditure towards development and cut down the unnecessary expenses….

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