In the dark bosom of Africa, Rwanda is interestingly trying to adopt modern population control measures. The landlocked country with few natural resources and even fewer industrial bases remains anaemic at its best. Ironically then, even after suffering internal strife, poverty and mortality due to HIV, Rwandan population continues to grow at an alarming pace – growing at almost 3% a year (the highest in the whole of Africa), its population has quadrupled during the last five decades to almost 8.6 million people. Its population density, at 238 per square kilometer, remains among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. On an average, every Rwandan women gives birth to as many as 6 children. Birthrates remain among the highest among rural population and almost 72% of the population forms part of non- active work force.
Given the grave situation, lawmakers in the country are drafting a law that would limit couples to have not more than three children. To make the policy feasible, women of child-bearing age would be offered free contraception that is effective for at least five years and all schools would offer sex education to students. This multi-dimensional policy is expected to reduce population and also educate people about family planning. The policy would also supposedly look into latent objectives like employment, health, safety nets and better growth of economy.
The government has gloatingly claimed that these policy measures would reach 70% of the disadvantaged. Perhaps they should also reveal that currently, the measures reach only a puny 10%. Sadly, as Rwanda heals from the scars of the infamous 1994 genocide, its government exists only in its name. To beat the quagmire of poverty, AIDS and internecine tribal strife, the Rwandan government has to first restrict its political ambitions in the neighboring countries if ever it intends to walk the talk. Will it?