The Financial Times published a fascinating account of the pro-birth sentiments in Uganda, which the newspaper described as having the youngest population in the world. At its current pace, according to demographers, Uganda’s population will double every 23 years, exceeding 50 million by 2020. Yet birth control is an alien concept in Uganda, even though an estimated one in three pregnancies are unwanted. Elite Ugandans, meanwhile, seem profoundly ambivalent about population growth, captivated by a illusory notion that a large domestic market, defined as a large population within the country’s borders, will insure economic prosperity. The notion is nonsensical. Uganda would sooner prosper if the government threw open its borders to millions of Chinese migrants. Adult immigration produces a far greater economic stimulus than higher birth rates. Those kids take a long time to grow up into productive workers, and they cost society a lot in the process. If Ugandans really want to use population policies to promote growth, they would be wooing immigrants — not having more babies per woman than practically any other nation on the planet.
Mar 03 2008
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