On the occasion of the World Population Summit in Nairobi, the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation (BMZ) has announced that it will step up its activities on family planning and that it will help set up new maternity centres in Cameroon, Malawi and Niger.
German Development Minister Gerd Müller commented: “The great challenge when it comes to population growth is Africa, where the population will double by 2050. This is putting great pressure on the limited resources of the countries of Africa. As development policymakers, we therefore have to contribute towards reducing birth rates. We will only be able to make that happen if women can choose how many children they want to have. This requires gender equality, education and health care. We are investing in all these things on the ground.”
The BMZ is the world's third-largest donor to health. It places a focus on the health of women and girls worldwide. Germany's efforts to advance the realisation of sexual and reproductive health and rights includes the continuation of the BMZ Initiative on Rights-based Family Planning and Maternal Health, which will be supported with up to 100 million Euro a year.
In Niger, for example, the average number of births per woman is seven – the highest number worldwide. But here, too, fertility rates are declining. While the average number of births per woman was almost eight before 2000, it is expected that it will be below seven for the first time for the period of 2015 to 2020. The BMZ is supporting the expansion of people's access to services for family planning and sexual and reproductive health in Niger. In 2017 and 2018 alone, this enabled some 200,000 couples in Niger to use modern contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies.