Criticism over Nigerian plans to curb ‘exponential’ population growth


Finance minister of Nigeria has disclosed that the government is looking at ways to limit its “exponential” population growth, describing it as a “great challenge” to prosperity.

Speaking at an economic summit on Tuesday, finance minister Zainab Ahmed said the government has identified Nigeria’s population boom as an area of concern.

Discussions are currently going on with traditional stakeholders who have in the past opposed controlling fertility on moral and religious grounds.

“We hope that with their support, we will get to a point where we can come out with the policy that limits the number of children that a mother can have because that is important for sustaining our growth,” said Ahmed.

Ahmed in response to criticism stemming from the proposed plan, wrote on Twitter that the government was not pushing for a cap on childbirth but “child spacing”.

“Exponential population growth was identified as a challenge,” she said. “We never said Federal Government will place a cap on the number of childbirths.”

Nigeria is currently Africa’s largest economy and is growing the most rapidly of the 10 largest countries worldwide, according to a 2017 UN report, World Population Prospects.

It is the seventh largest country in the world in terms of population, with a population of 190 million people. It is likely to surpass that of the United States and become the third largest country in the world before 2050.

Nigeria’s population boom mirrors a broader trend in Africa, which will account for more than half of anticipated growth in the global population over the next 30 years.

As the population rises rapidly, there is increasing attention on fertility in a region where unemployment and social unrest are high.



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