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Njuguna Ndung'u sounds alarm over population growth

 National Treasury CS Njuguna Ndungu. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u has expressed concern over the country’s burgeoning population, which he says poses a challenge in the face of a less vibrant economy.

According to Ndung’u, the population increase offers an opportunity for Kenya to boost earnings, backed by enterprising citizens focused on wealth creation.

However, he cautioned that this population trend could lead to increased dependency levels, particularly among the unemployed youth.

“Population issues are central to economic development. A rapid population growth, if not matched by economic growth, becomes problematic. If the population grows faster than the real growth of the economy, we are going to have some problems,” Ndung’u observed.

 “The youth can increase the share of the population in the working age because it can support an accelerated rise in income per capita, but if that doesn’t happen then it is the dependency ratio that increases,” he added.

Ndung’u pointed out that Kenyans within the 18-34 age bracket will top nineteen million, up from thirteen million in the 2019 census. This key demographic, he insists, must be harnessed.

He stressed that this demographic dividend will only be realised when the country develops its human capital by strengthening relevant institutions and providing enabling facilities for capacity building.

He was speaking at the launch of the Sessional Paper no 1 of 2023 on the Kenya National Population Policy for Sustainable Development at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi.

The document, developed by the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD), will be in effect for ten years.

The new population policy framework aims to ensure that Kenya’s population trends are incorporated during the formulation of national and county development plans.

 The policy has prioritised population issues such as fertility, mortality, mobility, urbanisation and population structure.

The event was also attended by Economic Planning PS James Muhati, NCPD Director General Mohamed Sheikh, among several other local and international dignitaries.

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