Editors in Malawi media houses are being called upon to take a leading role in highlighting the issue of population growth in this southern African country.
The call from representatives from the Population Reference Bureau (PRB) follows reports that Malawi will have difficulties in taking care of its people in the years to come if the current pace of reproduction rate remains unchecked.
Statistics indicate that Malawi contributes 400, 000 people every single year to its population. For example in 1966 Malawi has a population of 4million people against the current 15 million –four fold than it was in 1966.
Projections indicate that if the trend continues Malawi will have a population of over 60 million people by 2040.
The PRB Media Consultant Rob Jameson told the editors that the problem is that if the population growth surpasses the country’s ability to provide services Malawi will to continue to borrowing money from (donors) to help its people live decent lives.
“So we are asking the editors to tell the people of Malawi that we need to think about the size of families we have and whether or not we can actually look after a number of children that we bring into the world,” he said.
Jameson was quick to point out that the issue is not dictating the families about the number of children they must have.
“We are not putting a rule but what you must realize is that things have changed and that the earning of people at this moment is not as good as it used to be.
“And that there are less jobs around, and that there are more people coming out of the universities looking for jobs and unless we can generate policies that can bring employment opportunities for self employment opportunities for better growth in manufacturing and so on and so forth, we will find that we have a population that is unemployed under employed and basically it is a recipe for disaster for Malawi,” Jameson.
He asked the media to play “a very active role” in disseminating information to the people of Malawi and inform them that ‘we cannot continue the way we have been going, where we believed that we got to have many children because that is sort of a policy for us to be looked after when we are much older’.