When President John Magufuli encouraged Tanzanians to have many more children so as to create manpower, some worrywarts didn’t like his idea.
Perorating aside, in this piece, I’ll rationate about the issue revolving around population control in order to let my readership decide which position to take and know what’s in the cards.
My hypothesis is in the form of question: Is population a problem for Tanzania and Africa in general? If yes, how big or terrifying is it?
To answer the above major question, I pose another question: If China and India can feed their humungous populations, why can’t Africa do? To put this in the context, China and India sit on the area covering 9,596,961 km² and 3, 287,263 km² with the population of 1.4 and 1.3 billion respectively; equivalent to less than 10 per cent of 148, 940, 000 km² earth’s land mass without as many and precious resources as Africa’s except their people who are over 30 per cent of all binadams.
Ironically, Africa, for many decades, has generously been hosting Chinese and Indians while the same doesn’t export its people to these countries.
Phillipising aside, while Tanzanians are questioning themselves whether they would embark on family downsizing, Kenya has an estimated population of 50.95 million, which ranks 29th in the world according to the worldpopulation review.com (21 September, 2018). Compare Kenya’s population to Tanzania’s 57.31 million based on their landmasses which are 580,400 km² and 947,300 km² respectively.
Why is it logical for Kenya, which’s nearly a half of Tanzania, to have almost the same population as Tanzania’s?
If we seriously consider the population of the East Africa Community compared to its landmass, we’ll find that Tanzania’s bigger than Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda put together with the population of 57 million against approximately 104 million which sit on an area of 876,519 km². Comparably, Tanzania’s still better off.
Before ringing a death knell, we must ask simple questions such as: Why does Kenya have bigger economy than Tanzania while it has a small landmass and fewer natural resources comparably?
We can go further and interrogate why Nigeria despite being almost as big as Tanzania, still enjoys such humongous GDP despite having as big as three times population as Tanzania or South Africa?
Whereas the East Africa and Africa in general enjoy on the up population, as Magufuli put it, some Western countries face critical and costly shrinking demographics.
According to the CBC (8 February, 2017), some Canadian provinces face population shrinkage.
For example, the CTV (7 September, 2017) notes that the population of Newfoundland and Labrador’s likely to take a nosedive from 519,880 to 479,907 by the year 2036. Although the situation is dire, Canada has financial muscles that help it to attract qualified migrants to come in and leave in Canada.
So, too, Canada’s many incentives such as jobs, social services and well-performing economy.
Is there any need for Africa to wait to face the same while it doesn’t have means to incentivise migrants? And if it uses it laxity, it’ll get aliens who’ll harm it even more drawing from the current experience.
When it comes to Europe, like Canada, it is facing the same. According to the Guardian (August, 25, 2015), “across Europe birth rates are tumbling. The net effect is a ‘perfect demographic storm’ that will imperil economic growth across the continent.”
Should Tanzania and Africa in general wait to reach this dire situation? Due to this looming danger, Spanish business consultant, Alejandro Macarrón says “most people think we’re only talking about something that will be a problem in 50 years, but we’re already seeing part of the problem” he said. “If current numbers hold, every new generation of Spaniards will be 40 per cent smaller than the previous one.”
Apart from creating manpower to power the economy of Tanzania and Africa, population growth can act as what I call a womb bomb and weapon that can decolonised the world. If Africans increase just like others, Africa will be able to send its people, as it is currently doing to Europe, so as to force its former colonial masters to stop discriminating against and exploiting Africa under the current unequal world order.
What should be done thus?
Tanzania and Africa need to invest in their people so that they can feed themselves the way China and India are doing.
If population were an obstacle to development, China and India wouldn’t have been performing exponentially economically as they’re currently doing as the rising powers of the world. Methinks, apart from having able governments and good plans, the duo are able to achieve such development simply because they invested in their population.