Did you know that seven of the top ten fastest growing populations in the world belong to African nations? While Egypt is not among the highest ranked countries, it has still experienced a significant population increase of 1.56 percent in 2023, adding up to a total of 112.7 million people.
Needless to say, those kinds of numbers lead to overpopulation and all the challenges that entails. Luckily, today is the perfect time to recognize these challenges and how they’re being combated — because 11 July is World Population Day.
What is World Population Day?
This day was established by the United Nations in 1989 to draw attention to population issues, especially as they relate to the environment and overall development. It has been observed annually across over 90 countries by NGOs and national governments alike.
As is usually the case for these international days, World Population Day has a theme each year. For 2023, the theme is “Unleashing the power of gender equality: Uplifting the voices of women and girls to unlock our world’s infinite possibilities.”
Population issues directly relate to those of gender inequality worldwide. According to the UN, “The creativity, ingenuity, resources and power of women and girls are fundamental to addressing demographic and other challenges that threaten our future.”
Women make up about half of the world’s population; empowering them is vital to the success of any endeavor, which is why it is the focus of World Population Day 2023.
Its importance is further highlighted in the overpopulation measures taken by Egypt, a country known for its rapidly increasing numbers, as well as its diverse efforts to curb them.
Countering Overpopulation in Egypt
According to World Population Review, Egypt currently has a population of over 112 million, which is enough to place a burden on any nation of its size. However, the actions taken in response by the government and its ministries demonstrate an understanding of this statistic’s significance.
In 2021, Egypt’s Dar Al-Ifta (the official Islamic governmental body) launched a Facebook and Twitter campaign titled, “Birth Control is Permissible” to counter overpopulation. It was conducted in partnership with several NGOs to provide free birth control to Egyptians.
Then, in 2022, the National Project for Development of the Egyptian Family was launched to address the challenges posed by overpopulation by empowering women — both economically and in terms of reproductive health.
More recently, Egypt has begun preparations with the World Health Organization to host the International Conference on Population and Development in September at the New Administrative Capital.
This follows additional efforts from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development and the Ministry of Finance to provide married Egyptian women aged 21 to 45 with EGP 1,000 (USD 32) a year, as long as they only have two children.
An Ongoing Effort
The measures taken by both ministries and NGOs in Egypt show that overpopulation is a problem, but also that it is recognized and being counteracted in a multitude of ways. The issue has been addressed from a religious perspective, an economic standpoint, and a developmental stance.
That being said, overpopulation remains a current issue — so take advantage of World Population Day this year to learn more about it. After all, education is the first step in preparing to counter many of the world’s problems.
Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.