Opening a youth workshop ahead of World Population Day to be marked tomorrow, Zanzibar Urban West regional commissioner Ayoub Mohammed Mahmoud said the Isles population growth rate currently stands at 2.8 percent per year, slightly higher than Tanzania mainland’s 2.7 percent.
“Zanzibar’s population growth does not match the speed of economic growth. This situation threatens development and the overall wellbeing of Isles residents. We are likely to have a good number of poor people in coming years,” Mahmoud stated.
He asserted that the 2.8 percent population growth rate is too high for Zanzibar, compared to other African countries such as Namibia (1.4 percent) and Algeria (1.9 percent).
The semi-autonomous, 2,461-square kilometre Zanzibar archipelago is currently home to 1.3 million people. According to the RC, population growth must be brought under control if Zanzibar is to contribute effectively to the national dream of becoming a middle income economy by 2025.
He cited the 2014 World Bank report which puts the population growth rate for developed countries such as the US, UK and Japan at between 0.5 and 0.7 percent per year.
“Most of Zanzibar’s indigenous people don’t use any family planning methods at all. Those that are engaged in family planning mostly come from Urban West region, with very small usage in South Pemba and South Unguja regions,” Mahmoud said.
H described family planning as one of the key components for achieving the UN sustainable development goals of improved provision of social services, supervision and division of national resources.
Mbarak Tahir, a workshop participant from the Unguja Youth Council, urged Isles youth to become fully engaged in income generating activities as well as educate others on the importance of using family planning methods.
World Population Day is an annual event observed on July 11 every year since 1989, with the aim of raising public awareness on global population issues such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health, and human rights.
This year’s theme of the day is: ‘Family Planning is a Human Right’.
Global population surges are usually marked in increments of whole billions of people, but increases by approximately 100 million every 14 months. It reached 7.4 billion on February 6, 2016 and 7.5 billion on April 24, 2017.