Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated the first edition of the Global Congress on Population, Health, and Development 2023 on Tuesday, under the theme “Healthy Population for Sustainable Development.” The five-day event aims to address the challenges and opportunities of population growth in Egypt and the world.
During the opening ceremony, Al-Sisi received a copy of the National Strategy for Population and Development 2023-2030, which outlines the vision and goals of the Egyptian government to achieve a balance between population and development. He also launched a road map to deal with the population issue by enhancing population characteristics and improving the quality of life.
Al-Sisi stressed that population growth is one of the most serious issues facing Egypt, as it affects the provision of services and the utilization of resources. He said that Egypt needs to limit its annual births to 400 thousand to compensate for the deficit in resources. He added that he is against absolute freedom to procreate, as it could lead to a disaster for the country and society.
He also pointed out that some countries have succeeded in controlling and regulating their population growth, while others have failed. He cited Africa as an example, where the population is expected to reach more than 1.6 billion people in a few years, while the resources are huge but underutilized. He emphasized the importance of organizing this conference annually to exchange experiences and best practices.
Minister of Health and Population Khaled Abdel Ghaffar said that the strategy was prepared in light of the sustainable development goals, Egypt’s Vision 2030, the Constitution of Egypt, the National Strategy for Population and Development, and the National Project for the Development of the Egyptian Family. He said that the strategy is based on seven axes: reproductive rights, human capital, women’s empowerment, education, and learning, communication and media for development, population and environment, and governance of the population file.
He explained that the strategy aims to enhance reproductive health, empower women, invest in youth, improve educational opportunities, raise awareness of population issues, and achieve social and economic well-being for all citizens. He also highlighted the success factors of countries that have reduced their fertility rates, such as political will, funding, economic development, effective public policies, and integration of population plans into development plans.
He concluded by saying that the strategy aims to consider population as one of the most important elements of the state’s comprehensive strength, as well as to respect the family’s right to determine its children’s number and educate them about the dangers of high fertility rates.
The minister also stressed the state’s commitment to implementing a population program aimed at achieving a balance between population growth rates and the resources available in the state, maximizing investment in human energy and improving its characteristics, within the framework of achieving sustainable development. “Family planning is the largest investment project that, if Egypt adopts it, will bring it profits and benefits, as every pound the state spends on family planning saves EGP 151.7 in turn.”