VOL. 1 NO. 2
APRIL 1994

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1. OAU Secretary General calls upon Member States to participate in the Third World Population Conference

2. OAU Assistant Secretary General points out the importance of integrating population variables into development planning

3. Seminar on African Population and Development Policy

4. OAU prepares for the World Population Conference in 1994

5.Population Education in Africa

6. The OAU Population and Development Policy Programme

7. HIV infection in Africa estimated at 8 million

8. Preparations underway for the Third Population Conference

9. Africa features slow rate of adopting population policy

10. Country support team makes recommendations

11. OAU gives priority to the enhancement of the role and status of women

12. Statement by Dr. M.T. Mapuranga, Assistant Secretary General in Charge of Political Department at the Seminar on African Population and Development Policy.

13. The Dakar/NGOR Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development

14. Unsafe abortion - The road to death

15. National Statistical Offices of the OAU Member States


Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity has called upon all the OAU Member States to participate fully in the forthing International Conference on Population and Development, scheduled to take place in Cairo from 5-13 September 1994.

Dr. Salim made the call in his report to the Fifty-Seventh Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers which met in Cairo Egypt from 21-26 June 1993. In this connection, Dr. Salim said that population issues are becoming increasingly critical to the development of Africa and pointed out that the OAU Secretariat will, together with ECA, ADB and UNFPA, continue to monitor developments related to the Cairo Conference and assist African countries in the preparation for it. Furthermore, the Secretary General made it known that in support of the Dakar/NGOR Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development, the OAU, ECA, ADB and UNFPA intend to prepare a draft resolution for the Council of Ministers and the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government for consideration during the 1994 Summit scheduled for Tunis. It is expected that the endorsement of the resolution by the Council of Ministers and the OAU Summit will increase the importance of the Dakar/NGOR Declaration as Africa's common position paper to the Cairo Conference.

On the other hand, Dr. Salim informed the Council of Ministers that preparatory works were underway for the first meeting of the OAU Population Commission pursuant to the CM/Res.1122 Resolution of the Forty Sixth Session of the same body, which authorizes the OAU Secretary General to do so as soon as possible.

In another development, the secretary General briefed the Council of Ministers on the type and scope of population related activities undertaken at the level of the OAU Secretariat, namely the strengthening of the Population and Development Section, the production of several papers on different aspects of population, the organization of a seminar for the OAU staff and resident diplomats and the representation of the Organization at various population conferences.


Ambassador B.N. Dede, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity, has underlined the need for integrating population variables into development planning in order to ensure sustainable development in Africa. Ambassador Dede made the statement during the opening ceremony of the First Internal Familiarization Workshop organized by the UNFPA Country Support Team II based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop was conducted in Addis Ababa from 6-23 July 1993.

Ambassador Dede pointed out that the rapid growth of population has further worsened the socio-economic difficulties of Africa, as manifested in the supply of food, energy and water as well as in provision of shelter, education, health care and employment opportunities, leading to political unrest, violence and resistance to the democritization process in the region.

Speaking about the measures to be taken, Ambassador Dede said that Africa should not allow population size and growth rate overwhelm available resources and economic growth, and urged the OAU Member States to adopt and implement appropriate population policies, particularly in accordance with the recommendations of the Kilimanjaro Programme of Action on Population and Self-reliant Development, Africa's Priority Programme for Economic Recovery, the Resolution CM/Res. 1122 of the 46th Session of the OAU Council of Ministers, the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community and the Dakar/NGOR Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development.

Concerning the involvement of the OAU Secretariat in population activities, Ambassador Dede said that the continental organization has designed what is known as the OAU Population and Development Policy Programme, which aims at asisting Member States in population programmes for sustainable development and improvement of the quality of life of their population. Ambassador Dede went further and pointed out that the OAU Secretariat has strengthened the institutional capacity of its Population and Development Section and that the long awaited OAU Population Commission will be established soon. He also mentioned the existing working relations between the OAU, UNECA, ADB and UNFPA in the field population activities as an important mechanism for the implementation of collective strategies.

In conclusion, Ambassador Dede stated that the most important challenge facing African planners and policy makers is the question of correctly understanding the essence of demographic realities in Africa and formulating comprehensive development strategies. In this connection, Ambassador Dede welcomed the establishment of the UNFPA Country Support Teams and expressed his confidence that the UNFPA technical teams will contribute considerably to the ongoing collective efforts to accelerate socio-economic development in Africa


A seminar on African Population was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 29th September 1993, under the theme "Population and Development". It was organized by the Joint OAU/ECA/ADB Secretariat in collaboration with the UNFPA-Country Office and the African Population Advisory Committee (APAC), Washington.

The purpose of the seminar was to increase the awareness of resident diplomats and the representatives of international organizations including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on population matters so that they can in turn influence the views of their planners and policy makers in favour of appropriate population policies.

The seminar was attended by 136 participants from embassies, international organizations and national Ethiopian institutions. It was opened and closed by Ambassador Dr. Mapuranga, Assistant Secretary General in charge of Political Department, OAU, on behalf of Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity who could not attend the seminar, because of unavoidable commitments elsewhere. Other opening statements were also made by Mr. Layashi Yaker, the UN-Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Mr. I.U. Iheme, representing Mr. Babacar N'Diaye, President of the African Development Bank, and Ms. Marie Angelique Savane representing Dr. Nafis Sadik, the Executive Director of the United Nations Fund for Population.

In the course of the discussions that ensued some participants pointed out that it seemed paradoxical to discuss population problems when it was known that the population data of Africa lacked consistency and reliability. Others questioned why Africa should worry about population growth when the AIDS Pandemic was expanding at an alarming rate. Furthermore, some participants expressed their doubts on the effect of family planning programmes on the growth of population in Africa.

In an effort to reply to the various questions, some participants informed the meeting that consistent efforts should be made to generate reliable data on population by allocating sufficient resources and securing the support of politicians for population censuses. It was also indicated that politicians should be advised to seek quality and not quantity of the African population.

On the impact of the AIDS Pandemic, it was pointed out that people should avoid thinking that AIDS was a panacea for population problems. It was further explained that the impact of AIDS was not limited to eroding the size of total population, but rather affecting the socio-economic development process, since it mainly attacks the economically active age group.

As regards the use and effect of family planning programme, it was explained that the programme was based on the principle that prevention was better than cure. Subsequently, Tunisia was cited as an exemplary country where the family planning programme had scored significant successes.

Moreover, it was stressed that Africans were not sitting on a boundless mountain of resources and that they should take all the necessary measures to restore harmony between population and the carrying capacity of their economies. In particular, it was recommended that they should adopt appropriate national population policies and integrate population factors into their development planning.

Finally, it was underlined that the relationships between the three organizations, namely OAU, ECA and ADB should be strengthened to effectively promote population and development issues and to coordinate the activities of NGOs operating in Africa.

In declaring the meeting closed, Ambassador Mapuranga called upon African countries to implement the recommendations and action programmes of the collectively adopted regional strategies, such as the Kilimanjaro Programme of Action, the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community and the Dakar NGOR Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development.

The Seminar on African Population was one in a series of programmes envisaged by the Joint OAU/ECA/ADB Secretariat in order to sensitize different social target groups on population problems to be tackled and appropriate measures to be taken


The OAU Secretariat has planned to include population matters high on the agenda of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, due to take place in Tunis in June 1994. This was disclosed by Mr. A.M.A. Dirar, Director of the Economic Development and Cooperation Department, OAU at the joint meeting of the OAU, ECA, ADB, UNFPA-Country Office (Ethiopia) and UNFPA-Country Support Team based in Addis Ababa.

The purpose of including population issues on the agenda of the forthcoming OAU Summit is to secure the commitment of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government and subsequently Member States to the implementation of the Dakar/NGOR Declaration which will constitute Africa's common position paper to the 1994 Cairo Conference. It is expected that OAU Summit will review current population-related developments in Africa and endorse the Dakar/NGOR Declaration. Moreover, the Assembly may pass a resolution calling on the OAU Member States to place greater emphasis on population; and donor countries and NGOs to increase their assistance to African countries in the field of population and development.

The Joint Meeting of the OAU, ECA, ADB, UNFPA-Country Office (Ethiopia) and UNFPA-Country Support Team is a forum created recently to monitor population related developments in the region and initiate concerted actions. Currently, the forum is working on preparations for the establishment of the African Population Commission and the inclusion of population issues on the agenda of the next OAU Summit


Gone are the days when African countries were hesitant to say anything about the demographic behaviour of their population and take appropriate actions to keep equilibrium between their population and the carrying capacity of their economies. Thanks to the efforts made and the financial assistance provided by UNFPA and UNESCO, today there are about 33 countries which have some on-going population education projects. Eleven more countries are reported to be in the process of developing their own national population education programmes as an educational strategy to help solve population problems.

It should be recalled that by 1980, population education were initiated only in five countries: Togo (1975), Benin and Cote d'Ivoire (1976), Burkina Faso (1977) and Somalia (1979). By 1990 the number of countries implementing population education had increased six-fold. This can be explained by the increasing awareness of policy makers and politicians as regards population issues and the impact of high population growth rate on the welfare of societies.

Most of the education programmes focus on a variety of issues, including:

a) basic demographic processes as applied to one's family, community, the country and the world;

b) effects of population change and growth on social, economic and environmental life of the society;

c) population and family size pressures on quality of life factors, such as food and nutrition, health, education, housing, employment, human rights and social justice;

d) dynamics of population that the individual affects through his/her personal behaviour, age of marriage, birth of first child, spacing of children, rural-urban migration and those dynamics of population that affect him/her as recipient or member of society population growth rates, dependency burdens, socio-economic conditions; and

e) means and advantages of maternal - child health/family planning (MCH/FP) and/or sex education.

Population education programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa have sought to reach the following target groups or audiences:

* Planners and policy makers;

* Teacher educators and teachers;

* Trainers of staff who reach out of school youth and adults; and

* Children and youth in the formal educational system at primary, secondary and post-secondary levels.

For audiences in formal education systems, population education is integrated into the national curriculum. The main carrier subjects selected for the integration of population education into the curriculum of secondary and teacher training institutions are social studies general sciences, home economics, health, physical education, geography and agriculture.

For non-formal education, special programmes are designed to reach planners and policy makers, civil servants, the working class, the peasantry, school drop-outs and the rural youth through the mass media, mobile cinema, supply of books, adult education, literacy classes, labour training and education, agricultural extension classes, and seminars. In most cases, such education programmes address nutrition, personal hygiene, safe motherhood, childcare, family planning, sex education and environment. The content and objectives of population education is determined by the needs and particularities of a specific country.

According to various surveys, the major problems of population education in both formal and non-formal education systems include lack of commitments from politicians and religious leaders; failure to make population education an integral part of the national population policy and programmes; lack of skilled teachers as well as information, education and communication (IEC) workers.

It should be noted that the First International Congress on Population Education and Development which convened in Istanbul, Turkey in April 1993 issued a declaration, known as the Istanbul Declaration on Population Education and Development and adopted an action programme for the 1990s and beyond. Among other things, the declaration calls upon UN-member states to introduce population education into their education systems, both in formal and non- formal, and to further strengthen and support existing population education programmes



Countries with on- going           Countries that are in

Population Education               the process of Developing      

                                   Population Education

1.  Morocco                                  1.  Algeria

2.  Tunisia                                  2.  Cape Verde   3. 

Egypt                                    3.  Gabon

4.  Sudan                                    4.  Zaire

5.  Mauritania                               5.  Lesotho

6.  Mali                                     6.  Malawi

7.  Niger                                    7.  Somalia

8.  Chad                                     8.  Seychelles   9. 

Senegal                                  9.  Zimbabwe

10. Gambia

11. Guinea Bissau

12. Guinea                                   Countries for which

13. Sierra Leone                             information is not 

14. Liberia                                  available

15. Cote d'Ivoire

16. Ghana                                    1.  Libya

17. Burkina Faso                             2.  Saharawi Dem. Rep.

18. Togo                                     3.  Cameroon

19. Benin                                    4.  Namibia

20. Nigeria                                  5.  Botswana

21. Central Afr. Rep.                        6.  Swaziland

22. Sao Tome                                 7.  Rwanda

23. Congo                                    8.  Djibouti

24. Angola                                   9.  Eritrea

25. Zambia                                   10. Equatorial Guinea

26. Madagascar

27. Mauritius

28. Mozambique

29. Tanzania

30. Burundi

31. Uganda

32. Kenya

33. Ethiopia

Source: UNESCO Publications


The Organization of African Unity has had keen interest in population issues since its inception in 1963. The primary aim of the OAU in population matters between 1960 and 1970 was to foster labour and family welfare policies in Member States. Since the beginning of the 1980s, however, the organization has been pursuing the policy of restoring harmony between population on one hand and natural resources and development processes, on the other hand, with the aim of accelerating socio-economic development in the region and improving the quality of life of Africans. Nevertheless, the close linkages between population and development have not yet been adequately appreciated, and the progress towards integrating population variables into the socio-economic development planning has been very slow in Africa.

This situation has called for greater participation of the continental organization in population activities. Accordingly, the OAU Secretariat has designed a Population and Development Policy Programme whose objectives are as follows:

a) To increase awareness of the OAU Member States about the implications of the current population characteristics on national socio-economic development;

b) To encourage and help Member States to generate, analyze and exchange latest data on population;

c) To assist Member States in devising and implementing appropriate population policies;

d) To coordinate and monitor population activities in Member States;

e) To assist Member States to adopt a common position at international population fora;

f) To promote cooperation among Member States in the field of population.

g) To encourage NGOs to be more involved in population activities in Africa.

h) To assist Member States in producing skilled manpower in population studies; and

i) To build the institutional capacity of the Secretariat in order to fully undertake the responsibility of coordinating population activities in the region.

The Population and Development Policy Programme of the Organization of African Unity is designed to ameliorate the effects of the problems encountered so far and to enhance the implementation of population policies with a view of ensuring self- reliant development and improvement in the welfare of the African people. Therefore, the activities of the programme which contribute to furthering this ultimate objective include:

a) Strengthening the Population and Development Section in the OAU Secretariat in order to enable it serve as a coordination and monitoring centre for population issues and activities in Africa;

b) Establishing the OAU Population Commission as the highest and permanent policy institution responsible for raising population issues high on the OAU political agenda through the Assembly of Heads of State and Government;

c) Advising the OAU Council of Ministers as well as the Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the population situation in Africa and the implication of current trends and levels on self- reliant development programmes with a view of increasing high level political awareness and involvement in population matters;

d) Encouraging and assisting Member States to create national population commissions and population units with the necessary powers to coordinate population activities;

e) Formulating an appropriate population and development strategy which will be applicable to variant local mores;

f) Analyzing national population policy programmes to identify conflict areas between such policies, national interest, and local groups with the aim of developing appropriate guidelines based upon experiences gained to ensure that the policies are readily acceptable by a cross-section of Member States;

g) Conducting periodic evaluation of population programmes in Member States, and developing appropriate instruments for self- reliant national evaluation exercises;

h) Compiling and disseminating information on population from various sources with a view to promoting cooperation among Member States and between other developing countries;

i) Organizing regional and sub-regional workshops/seminars on population issues, policies and their implementation strategies;

j) Coordinating African delegates at international conferences to ensure a common African position;

l) Seeking and sustaining on behalf of the OAU Member States, multilateral and bilateral assistance for population policy implementation programmes and projects;

m) Promoting technical and financial collaboration among international agencies and institutions participating in programme implementation activities in the OAU Member States, and providing political support to such agencies and institutions where necessary; and

n) Helping to develop national self-reliant programmes and the institutional framework necessary for the implementation of comprehensive programmes.

The OAU Secretariat is intending to promote and implement the declarations and resolutions of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government including the Lagos Plan of Action (LPA), the Kilimanjaro Programme of Action for African Population and Self- Reliant Development (KPA), Africa's Priority Programme for Economic Recovery 1986-1990 (APPER), the Dakar/NGOR Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development, the Abuja Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, the World Population Plan of Action, adopted by the World Population Conference in 1974 and the United Nations New Agenda for African Development in the 1990s (UN-NADAF).

Today, population issues especially those of growth, distribution, migration, the state and fate of women and children are at the forefront of global concern. It is an open reality that Africa is still the least developed region, although it has abundant natural resources. Conversely, population is growing at the highest rate in the world. Population and available resources have not yet been harmonized. However, socio-economic development cannot be conceived without integrating population variables into development planning. Therefore, the OAU Member States are expected to fully cooperate with the OAU Secretariat in handling population issues.

As already indicated, Africa has been passing through adverse economic situations. Member States can hardly afford adequate funds and skills to devise and implement their population programmes. In view of this, the OAU Secretariat calls upon the donor countries and NGOs to increase their assistance to population programmes in Africa in a more coordinated and sustained way in accordance with the recommendations and appeals of the World Population Conferences at Bucharest (1974) and Mexico (1984) as well as the Kilimanjaro Programme of Action (1984) and the Dakar/NGOR Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development (1992).

Population, development and the well-being of our environment are inseparable. These issues demand prompt and urgent actions. If all join hands for concerted actions, the future can be bright indeed


Ethiopia has recently launched a national policy on women which safeguards their legal rights and open more doors to women to have a greater say in the country's political, social and economic affairs.

The national policy is aimed at ensuring women's full and direct participation in the process of formulating policies, laws and regulations, which will be designed to improve the situation of women in the country.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Tamirat Layne, said that any development endeavour which ignores the role of women would not be successful and called upon governmental organizations, regional administrations, non- governmental agencies and the community at large to pull their efforts together for the practical implementation of the aims and targets of the policy


About 8 million people have been infected with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) in Africa, according to the latest reports from the World Health Organization (WHO). The cumulative adult HIV infections in the world by mid-1993 was 13 million cases.

Reported AIDS cases in Africa have always been increasing at an alarming rate and show no sign of deceleration. Various projections indicate that there will be 14 million cumulative cases in Africa by the year 2000, as opposed to 9 million cases in Asia. With this background, some people question why Africa should worry about population growth when the AIDS pandemic is expanding at increasing rate. Others however argue that AIDS is not a panacea for population problems, since various projections indicate that the growth rate of population will only be reduced from 3 per cent to over 2 per cent after 25 years. They point out that AIDS is not limited to eroding the size of total population, but rather affecting the socio-economic development processes since it mainly attacks the economically active age group.

African Governments are already aware of the dangerous consequences of the AIDS pandemic. In view of this, the OAU Summit at its Twenty-Eighth Ordinary Session in Dakar 1992, adopted an important strategy, known as the Declaration on AIDS Epidemic in Africa (AHG/Decl. 1(XXVIII) by which it urged Leaders of the OAU Member States and the international community to intensify the campaign against HIV/AIDS through creating the necessary political will as well as ensuring the commitment of communities in addition to mobilizing national and international resources.

Africa is undoubtedly the hardest hit continent. Sixty per cent of the world's HIV infected adults and more than 90 per cent of the children are in this continent. In the light of this, it is absolutely necessary to intensify the fight against HIV/AIDS through concerted actions and mobilization of national resources. In this connection, it is important to learn that sources emanating from the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia reveal that thorough preparations are underway with the support of the Netherlands Government to establish an African HIV/AIDS Reference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the purpose of which is to contribute to AIDS research and control in Africa.

Although relentless efforts are being made by scientists all over the world to produce a cure or a preventive medicine, satisfactory results have not yet been registered, showing that the only effective measure to date is to induce behavioral change for safer sex through health education. Basically, safer sex includes:

i) abstention;

ii) mutual monogamy;

iii) non-penetrative sex; and

iv) protected sex intercourse.

However, only the last alternative is the most practical and safest means. Since this item entails the use of condoms, it can also help mothers to regulate births as desired, thus contributing towards the success of national population programmes


Preparations leading to the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, are in full swing at the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) Headquarters and the UN-Member States. According to the Newsletter of the International Conference on Population and Development, ICPD 94, the majority of the UN-Member States have established national committees, involving all relevant government departments and agencies as well as academics and sometimes parliamentarians.

The duties of national committees include preparing a national report on population to be submitted to the ICPD and raising the level of awareness of the general public on the activities and purpose of the Cairo Conference. To this end, national media will be further utilized and seminars arranged for the intended purpose.

Population conferences have also been held at regional levels to produce the regions' principal contribution to the ICPD. The African population conference, namely the Third African Population Conference, took place in Dakar, Senegal in December 1992. The meeting endorsed an important document known as the Dakar/NGOR Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development. The Declaration encompasses a total of 51 recommendations, indicating major priority areas in order to deal with population problems in the region. It is expected that the document will be endorsed as an African common position paper by the next OAU Summit, scheduled to take place in Tunis in June 1994.

At the UNFPA Headquarters, an ICPD committee, known as the ICPD Preparatory Committee has been established. The Committee is in charge of the ICPD preparatory process and is chaired by Dr. Fred Sai (Ghanaian), a senior population advisor to the Government of Ghana. On the other hand, the first version of the final document which constitutes the "Cairo Document", has been prepared. When finalized, the document will be submitted to the Third General meeting of the Preparatory Committee, scheduled to take place 11-22 April 1994 in New York.

The second meeting of the Preparatory Committee which took place in May 1993, recommended that population must be put at the centre of action on economic, social and environmental issues and agreed on a set of population and development issues to be discussed at Cairo. The draft document consists of fifteen chapters on a variety of issues, as shown below



Principles/Fundamental Considerations.

Choices and Responsibilities.

Chapter I. The Interrelationships between Population, Sustained Economic Growth and Sustainable Development.

Chapter II. Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women.

Chapter III. Population Growth and Structure.

Chapter IV. The Family, its Role and Composition.

Chapter V. Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health and
Family Planning.

Chapter VI. Health and Mortality

Chapter VII. Population Distribution,
Urbanization and Internal Migration.

Chapter VIII. International Migration

Means of Implementation

Chapter IX. Promotion of Population Information, Education and Communication.

Chapter X. Capacity-building

Chapter XI. Technology, Research and Development.

Partnership in Population - Actors and Resources.

Chapter XII. National Action

Chapter XIII. International Cooperation.

Chapter XIV Partnerships with Non-Governmental Sectors.

From Commitment to Action

Chapter XV. Follow-up to the Conference.


Adoption of appropriate population policies in the OAU Member States has been found to be slow. According to a recent survey conducted by the OAU Secretariat, there are only 24 countries that have explicit population policies. These include Algeria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tunisia and Zambia.

On the other hand, there are 20 countries that are in the process of formulating their own population policies, These are Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Central Africa, Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, Zaire and Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, Zaire and Zimbabwe. The remaining 7 countries, namely Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Libya, Saharawi Democratic Republic and Somalia have only some limited and non-integrated population activities.

The slow rate of formulating and adopting appropriate population policies in Africa is mainly attributed to the lack of proper awareness on the consequences of uncontrolled demographic trends; absence of political will on the part of politicians and policy makers; resistance posed by existing laws and traditional customs; dominance of religious institutions; and prevalence of civil wars consuming national resources and resulting in very high mortality rates and massive displacement of people (refugees).

The presence of an explicit population policy alone does not necessarily guarantee much yield. Experiences have shown that a population policy should be accompanied by a comprehensive national population programmes or strategy in order to make it effective. This partly explains why some African countries with explicit population policies have not yet witnessed significant demographic changes.

On the contrary, there are some African countries (Zimbabwe and Botswana) which have shown remarkable demographic changes with strong family planning programmes alone


The Transitional Government of Ethiopia has announced that it will conduct the second national housing and population census in May 1994. Various reports indicate that preliminary preparations including mapwork for the census are being finalized.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 enumeration areas will be established throughout the country. Subsequently, about 63,000 enumerators and 12,000 supervisors will be deployed all over the country for the enumeration.

The national population and housing census is envisaged to be universal as opposed to the first one which covered only 81% of the country. Currently, the total population of Ethiopia is estimated to be around 51 million, making Ethiopia the third most populous country in Africa after Nigeria and Egypt which have 115 million and 54 million population respectively


The 1993 African Statistics Day, on 18th November and the African Development Information Day, on 19th November were observed in Africa with dedications to "strengthening information systems for development planning policy reforms". A special public gathering was particularly held at the Headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in commemoration of the days.

The purpose of the commemoration is to sensitize planners, decision-makers and the public at large on the key role played by statistics and development information systems in all aspects of life and particularly in planning, monitoring and evaluation of national development activities. The decisions to celebrate the African Statistics Day and the African Development Information Day were made by the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Meetings of the African Ministers responsible for planning and development respectively.

According to the ECA press release marking the anniversary, the Addis Ababa Plan of Action for Statistical Development in Africa in the 1990s, (adopted by the Sixteenth Meeting of the African Ministers) inter-alia states that one of its objectives is to achieve national self-sufficiency in statistical production, including the creation of a comprehensive national statistical data base by the end of the century.

The theme for last year's celebration suggested that UNECA and Member States as well as African regional and sub-regional institutions and donor agencies should support statistical and development information activities and adopt a more dynamic approach to information sharing in order to contribute to a re- awakening of African development. It also presupposed the formulation of national population policies in order to ensure harmonious development of information resources.

In preparing national information policies, African Member States may address the following issues:

1) promotion of the development of national information resources and services as an integral part of the national development plans;

2) strengthening the generation of information at the national level;

3) advocating the modernization of information handling technologies;

4) establishment in each country of a national coordinating mechanism which will ensure effective coordination, implementation and operation of the policy;

5) establishment of appropriate legislations and their enforcement to facilitate access to information;

6) training and retraining of personnel for the efficient management of information resources;

7) promotion of effective use of information resources and services by the general public, policy makers, technology users and information professionals; and

8) participation in relevant regional and international information systems


The UNFPA Country Support Team (UNFPA/CST) based in Addis Ababa has made some important recommendations for implementation by the UNFPA Headquarters in intensifying and broadening population assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, the Country Support Team called upon the UNFPA Headquarters to give priority to new strategies that employ the programme approach rather than the project approach. Programme approach entails integrated, coordinated and holistic approach as opposed to project approach which is associated with spontaneous and isolated activities. The recommendations were made at the end of the First Internal Familiarization and Planning Workshop which was conducted in July 1993 in Addis Ababa. The full text of the recommendations is as follows:

a) The UNFPA priority areas should be maintained. However strategies of action need to be flexible enough to incorporate such new concerns as the social, economic and demographic impact of emerging concerns such as AIDS. Moreover, UNFPA funding should be flexible enough to accommodate this as and when the need arises.

b) With regard to incentives for national experts, it was felt that UNFPA could be flexible so as to help resolve these constraints by absorbing costs that may be outside of its traditional area of expenditures.

c) It may be necessary, for UNFPA, to establish mechanisms so that dysfunctional rivalries and duplication of efforts and resources among donor organizations are avoided or, at least, minimized.

d) UNFPA should review its policy, with the view of providing incentives to nationals working in UNFPA - assisted population programmes and projects. This would help retain experienced staff within countries.

e) In view of the fact that a number of national and regional training institutes in Africa have been providing useful training, e.g. RIPS in Ghana, they should be supported and further strengthened.

f) UNFPA should help in making raining opportunities available both at the national and regional levels. Perhaps, one of the most cost-effective ways of providing such training would be for UNFPA to

establish a core of trainers who would be available to conduct training workshops for groups of national experts. These trained national experts would then be the trainers of their own respective nationals in subsequent years.

g) UNFPA should be able to provide the necessary assistance for countries to integrate MCH/FP into their health and medical training programmes at all levels of training for all cadres of health workers.

h) With regard to cost-recovery, it was agreed that, depending on the circumstances obtaining in each country, UNFPA should encourage governments to open all possible channels, e.g. private clinics and pharmacies, government health establishments and social marketing, etc., so that appropriate mechanisms and strategies are developed, with the aim of recovering some of the costs for population activities. Permitting the private sector or even certain government health institutions to make modest profits on such services may, in fact, help subsidize services to the poor.

i) Regarding decentralization, it was unanimously agreed that this was a major step forward, and should be encouraged. Nevertheless, this democratization process should not remain limited to the relations between UNFPA Headquarters, regional and country offices, but should be extended to UNFPA-assisted projects and programmes within each country.

j) UNFPA should be able to work with NGOs and should, in fact, consider channelling some of its country funds through these NGOs. In such cases, priority should be given to indigenous NGOs.

k) It was agreed that UNFPA could work with the private sector, mainly for purposes of cost-recovery. For instance, UNFPA could work through publishers and the media, to advocate population goals and objectives. Private pharmacies, clinics, social marketing firms, and other private business establishments could be used to promote and provide services and, at the same time, recover some of the costs of these services.

l) UNFPA should encourage the establishment of National Population Commissions and assist them to play the important role of integrating and coordinating population programmes.

m) UNFPA should focus on achieving inter-sectoral coordination and integration within its own population programmes at the global, regional and country levels.

The opening ceremony of the workshop was attended by the representatives of the OAU, ECA, UNDP, UNFPA Country Office and the Government of Ethiopia.

The UNFPA/CST in Addis Ababa comprises regional advisors with rich experiences in population related fields. It provides technical advise and back stopping to thirteen countries in Eastern, Central and Anglophone Western Africa. Details can be learnt from publicity leaflet of the agency, presented below


While women constitute about 50% of the world population, they have been victims of oppression and sagregation socially, economically and politically. Africa is not an exception to the general global situation. In fact, the status and role of women is even worse in Africa.

The imbalance has been brought about by backward cultural practices and discriminatory laws. In particular the low level of female employment is attributed to limited access to educational opportunities; early marriage; lack of social services such as day care centres for working women; and the acceptance of the low status accorded to women especially in the rural areas.

It is now generally recognized that there cannot be sustainable development without increasing the role of women in development endeavours and improving their social status. In the light of this, the OAU Secretariat has been taking all the necessary measures to bring gender issues to the forefront of its population and development strategies, pursuant to Article 75 of the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community. Accordingly, it has strengthened the Women's Unit as an important organ in order to play a more catalytic role in the promotion of gender issues and implementation of collectives strategies aimed at enhancing the role and status of women in Africa. The full text of the goals, functions and strategies of the OAU Women's Unit is as follows:



To encourage and assist OAU Member States:

(i) to implement policies aimed at the achievement of equality so as to ensure equal access to the power structure that controls society and determines development issues and peace initiatives;

(ii) to adopt measures for the effective implementation of existing Agreements, Recommendations and Decisions from a gender perspective.


- Articulating a policy for the effective representation and participation of women in the power structure and decision-making processes that govern society and determine democratization, peace and development in Africa.

- Coordinating the integration of gender issues and women's concerns, from childhood to old age, into OAU policies and programmes and providing timely interventions in the policy formulation and implementation processes and ensuring that these concerns are being appropriately implemented. (Particular attention should be paid to the transparency of economic reform programmes and women's role and participation).

- Ensuring that gender and women's concerns are addressed at the policy level of the OAU and that these concerns become part of the agenda items to be reviewed at various fora of the OAU with a view to adopting effective measures for dealing with them.

- Ensuring the effective adoption, ratification and implementation by the OAU Member States, of key International Agreements, Legal Issues and Continental Policies that aim at promoting women's participation in the development process.

- Ensuring the effective representation and participation of women in the OAU Secretariat and other OAU activities, including meetings and peace initiatives.

- Cooperating and collaborating with regional and sub-regional women's organizations/institutions with a view to complementing existing efforts at the integration of women's concerns in policy initiatives.

- Disseminating relevant information to OAU Member States, regional and sub-regional women's organizations/institutions, particularly regarding international and continental Agreements, Recommendations and Decisions with policy and other implications affecting the status of women.

- In collaboration with ECA/ATRCW, documenting and disseminating information on women's expertise in the African region.

- Mobilizing resources for the work of the Unit in respect of studies, seminars etc... as well as for assistance to women's organizations/institutions, particularly for participating at meetings and training courses.

- Organizing, on a regular basis, seminars, workshops or symposia to discuss problems which affect African women in general with a view to raising consciousness and leading to regional, sub- regional and national measures to redress these problems.


The main aim of the Women's Unit is to integrate Women's issues and concerns into OAU programmes and policies through coordination and intervention. It is believed that, armed with appropriate strategies, it should be better equipped to effectively intervene and ensure that women's concerns and priorities are adequately addressed in OAU policies and programmes.

The OAU embodies both its Secretariat and its Member States and whatever strategies are developed have to take this into consideration.

As the result of a Workshop organized by the Unit, in March 1993, certain strategies were identified and adopted. The Workshop, which included participants from Regional and Sub-Regional Women's Organizations and Institutions, African Women WID Experts, several WID focal points of the United Nations system, members of the OAU departments as well as representatives of African Embassies in Addis Ababa, adopted the strategies which are listed below:

1. Development of a Policy on Women by the OAU with Implications for its Secretariat and Member States, in collaboration with all OAU Departments.

2. Development of Guidelines for Incorporating Women's Concerns into OAU Policies and Programmes.

(These guidelines should be used by various OAU Departments, Regional Offices, OAU Specialized Agencies, etc... as well as by Member States for the formulation of policies and programmes).

3. Playing its advocacy role through the organization and implementation, on a regular basis, of sensitization sessions for policy and decision-makers as well as programme officers, both within the OAU Secretariat and in Member States.

4. Maximizing the use of the services of existing women organizations and WID focal points within the REGs (Regional Economic Groupings) and the Pan-African Women's Organization (PAWO). To this end, the Unit should ensure the strengthening of these mechanisms so that they can fully and effectively play their respective roles.

5. The Establishment and Institutionalization of Mechanisms:

The mechanisms envisaged are as follows:

a) An Inter-Departmental Technical Advisory Committee within the OAU to ensure a cohesive coordination of women's issues in OAU Departments and participation in programmes/ activities developed by the Unit for Women.

b) A Regional Consultative Committee -make up of women focal points from the Sub-regional Economic Groupings, Sub-regional Women's institutions, Regional Women's Organizations, the ARCC (African Regional Coordinating Committee) of the ECA and Eminent African Women WID Experts.

c) A Committee of African Women Parliamentarians to be a link between the Women's Unit and National Governments, Policy and Decision-makers and National machineries.

d) A Technical Committee of African Women Leaders and Business- Profesional Women to act as a pressure and lobbying group, among other things.

(The terms of reference of these Committees will have to be worked out).

6. Development/Reactivation of links and contacts leading to Network Formation with various organizations and institutions at the national, sub-regional, regional and international levels, to promote the exchange of information and experience.

7. Establishment of access to a pool of outside Expertise Consultants (male and female) with specialized expertise, Task Forces and Committees, in order to strengthen the capacity/capability of the OAU and its Member States.

8. Collaboration/Cooperation with various International Organizations and Non-governmental Organizations, involved with women's issues and concerns. These include inter-alia:

Economic Commission for Africa/African Training and research Center for Women (ECA/ATRCW), the Center for Advancement of Women, the Commission on the Status of Women, the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the International Training and Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Center for Social Development and Humanatarian Affairs (CSHDA), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the United Nations children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the African Development Bank (ADB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Association of African Women for Research and Development (AAWORD), African Women's Development and Communications Network (FEMNET), the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute (ESAMI) and the West African Women's Association (WAWA).

9. Encouragement and use of training facilities and opportunitites for staff of OAU as well as development of special skills for effective intervention etc... in appraising, monitoring, analysis, evaluation and reporting.

10. Involvement of both men and women in staffing, consultancies, and research, for active participation in programming, planning and in the allocation of resources to incorporate women's concerns.

11. Prioritization of a few selected areas at a time for intervention and ensuring that adequate resources are made available.

12. Focusing on the contribution of women to development rather than bringing women into development and in this respect encouraging the development of methodologies for measuring women's contribution to development.

13. Monitoring, on a regular basis, of development assistance agreements between the OAU and partner agencies to ensure that gender issues are addressed.

14. Introduction of resource mobilization mechanisms into programme activities, both at the level of the Secretariat and within Member States.

15. Making maximum use of mass media outlets and other information networks to bring information to women at all levels on matters of interest and concern to women.

16. Seeking and obtaining empowerment through the provision of adequate financial, technical and manpower resources and an elevation in status.



Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Layashi Yaker, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the ECA,
Representative of the President of ADB,
Representative of the Executive Director of UNFPA,
Your Excellencies the Ambassadors,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of H.E. Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, OAU Secretary General, and on my own behalf, I have the honour and pleasure to welcome you all to this important seminar on African Population and Development. Dr. Salim would have very much liked to be with you here today but this has not been possible because he had to attend to unavoidable commitments elsewhere.

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Participants,

This is one of the most important seminars that the OAU General Secretariat has ever been involved in. It is dealing specifically with the subject of African people themselves, their numerical magnitude, the rate of their reproduction, the consequences of their rapid increase, their collective well-being, and so on and so forth. It is not often that we hold seminars on this subject, although we often talk about factors which affect people's welfare one way or the other. Indeed, the added importance of this seminar is that it is aimed at relating population policy to development policy in the continent.

Mr. Chairman,

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Participants,

One of the most important features of the African population phenomenon is its rapid growth. In 1900, the population was estimated at 120 million. By 1920, it had jumped to 136 million and by 1950 to 222 million. Twenty years later, by 1970, it had reached 363 million. By 1990, it had reached 640 million. At present, it is estimated at 682 million. Currently, the region's average annual rate of natural increase is 3.1 percent. At such a rate, Africa's population will reach approximately 1 billion by the year 2005. The fertility rate has remained high as borne out by the fact that the average number of births per woman remains exceptionally high at more than six.

One other important feature of the African population is that the proportion of youth is very high, indicating that Africa is a youthful continent. According to UN estimates, at least 45 percent of the population is under the age of 15 in most African countries. This large proportion of children creates a built-in momentum for future population growth. In fact, the rapidly increasing number of youth constitutes one of the single most compelling challenges for Africa. The UN estimates that in 1960 there were 69 million young African people between the ages of 10 and 24. By 1985, that number had more than doubled to nearly 141 million. By the year 2000, it is projected to increase by another 131 million, bringing the total to 272 million.

Mr. Chairman,

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Participants,

Addressing the issue of rapid population growth will not be a panacea for all of Africa's developmental problems. It could, however, significantly reduce pressures on the region's families and communities, as well as assist government to close the gap in food requirements and the provision of basic services.

African countries are facing difficult economic problems, which have a direct bearing on the welfare of the African population, particularly in the areas of health services and education. Although both have generally improved since the mid-1960s, their levels remain the lowest in the world. Health care is unevenly distributed throughout most African countries, with most of the care centered in urban areas. This leaves the majority of the population with inadequate public health facilities. And in the face of current economic difficulties, many African countries are compelled to reduce their budgetary provisions for health.

In the educational field, the same characteristics are evident. After initial improvements following independence, the quantitative and qualitative aspects of education have been on the decline in many African countries. Shortly after independence, most countries initiated programmes aimed at achieving universal primary education. By 1980, some countries had achieved this goal. Nevertheless, according to UNESCO, enrolment ratios for primary education started declining during the 1980s in more than 25% of African countries. Here again, many African governments have found education to be a service for which budgetary allocation may be cut back during times of fiscal crisis. Teachers' pay, for example has been reduced in many countries, with the result that instructors even at the university level have been compelled to have two or more outside jobs to obtain a reasonable standard of living, and, as a consequence, the provision of quality education has suffered.

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have outlined some of the major socio-economic problems in Africa in order to underscore the importance of taking the population factor into consideration when formulating development policy. It is our view that the population factor has not always been given the requisite attention in Africa's development policy.

Indeed, until fairly recently, most African governments did not view rapid population growth as a matter for concern. In fact, many argued in favour of more rapid population growth, to provide an increased number of inhabitants to serve as factors of production and consumption, that is, to increase the country's ability to produce more and to increase aggregate demand. In fact, most African countries are densely populated; the problem lies in small but very intensively populated rural and urban areas. Nevertheless, during the past ten years or so, a succession of African countries have realized that their resources cannot service rapid population growth. Although some demographers predict that Africa's population will reach one billion by the year 2005, some medical researchers into the AIDS pandemic believe that the rate of population growth could advance by only 1% annually while others have suggested an actual decline by the year 2010. By 1990, an estimated 300,000 people in Africa had died from AIDS and some forecast envisaged 2 million AIDS-related deaths during 1990s.

By late 1984, a consensus had emerged in favour of curbing the population growth rate, as evidenced by most African governments' endorsement of the conclusions of the UN International Population Conference held in Mexico in 1984. In fact, by 1990, about three- quarters of all African countries had family-planning programmes, and some have even set targets for reducing the population growth rate. Fertility seems to be declining in the small number of States which have established family planning.

However, stemming rapid population growth in Africa is difficult because of social as well as economic factors. Most Africans live in rural areas on farms which require a labour force. The cheapest way of obtaining such labour is for a farmer to have more children. Because the infant mortality rate is so high, rural families also tend to want, and have, more babies. In addition, African countries do not have organized-old age support schemes, and children are often viewed as potential providers of support for the elderly. Modern contraceptive methods are used by only about 5% of couples in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a recent study by the World Bank.

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished participants,

Rapid urbanization has also exerted enormous stress on many African economies. Africa is still very largely rural and agricultural, as some 75% of all Africans live outside cities and towns. Nevertheless, during the past generation, urbanization has increased at an alarming pace. More than 42% of all urban dwelling sub-Saharan Africans now reside in cities of more than 500,000 population, compared with only 8% in 1960. In fact, there were only two cities in the region with populations exceeding 500,000 in 1960. If recent trends should continue, Africa will have 60 cities with a population of more than 1,000,000 by the year 2000 as against 19 cities in 1992. It should be noted that in 1950, only Cairo had a population of more than 1,000,000 in the entire African continent.

This rapid urban population growth has been caused by factors such as job prospects, access to education, medical treatment, and the general attractions of urban life. Many migrants to the cities, however, have discovered that their prospects are not significantly improved by relocation, as unemployment and underemployment are rampant in every major city in Africa. With an average annual growth rate in agriculture of perhaps 2.5%, self-sufficiency in food production becomes a more elusive goal. Additionally, high population growth puts pressures on the soil by decreasing the time it is allowed to lay fallow; pasture land declines and the result is over-grazing, which in turn causes increased friction between agriculturalists and pastoralists.

Apart from the employment implications, increased population means over-burdened educational and health care systems resulting in higher rates of illiteracy and malnutrition and a general decline in the standard of health. Hence, demographic factors constitute a daunting challenge for Africa in the years ahead as the race between population and economic growth will intensify during the remainder of this century and the first decade of the next. The most important questions of policy revolve around the following issues: How can African countries produce enough food for an additional 15-20 million people each year when they are unable to feed their present populations? How can Africa be expected to create 200 million additional jobs - more than 10 million jobs annually between now and the year 2000 when presently it can not provide enough jobs for its population? Can Africa provide primary education to 137 million children who will require it by the year 2000? And with a projected urban population of 472 million people in the year 2010, how can Africa hope to cope with the accompanying rapid expansion in urban services like water and sewerage, transport, health and housing, when these facilities are presently inadequately provided?

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Participants,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

You have before you a subject matter which is presently occupying the attention of people the world over. I hope you will do justice to the subject. I wish you a successful seminar and hope that you will make useful recommendations which will assist African countries individually and collectively in their endeavours to deal effectively with the daunting problem of population and development policy in Africa.

I thank you


The Dakar/NGOR Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development is a set of recommendations endorsed by the Third African Population Conference which met in Dakar, Senegal from 7 to 12 December, 1992.

The Conference assessed the demographic situation and future trends in the region as part of the preparation for the International Conference on Population and Development to be held in Cairo in 1994. The Conference noted that despite the increased number of explicit population policies formulated, the implementation rate of the Kilimanjaro Programme of Action was slow although it was still a valid framework for the development of the region. In addition, the Conference recognized the family as a basic unit in society and, as such, needs and is entitled to support and protection by society and the state in order to play its role in development.

The Dakar/NGOR Declaration is yet another important milestone in the history of population activities in Africa. It provides an invaluable reference framework for population policies and programmes in the OAU Member States. In the light of this, the full text of the Dakar/NGOR Declaration is presented below.


"We, the Governments of African countries represented by our Ministers responsible for population matters at the third African Population Conference which met in Dakar, Senegal from 7 to 12 December 1992 on the theme "Population, Family and Sustainable Development" have assessed the demographic situation and future trends in the region. In preparation for the International Conference on Population and Development to be held in Cairo in 1994, we have also assessed the achievements, constraints and implications of population policies; the impact of the economic crisis and structural adjustment programmes on family survival strategies and on the ability of African Governments to make satisfactory progress in population policy formulation and implementation.

We have reviewed the lessons and prospects of implementing the Kilimanjaro Programme of Action which, inter-alia, was aimed at accelerating self-reliant, social and economic development for the well-being of African peoples. We reaffirm that the KPA remains a valid framework for the development of the region. We have taken note of the Amsterdam Declaration on Better Life for Future Generations, United Nations General Assembly resolution 45/216 on population and development, the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF), Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), the deliberations of the ECA Conference of Development (UNCED), the deliberations of the ECA Conference of Ministers at its eighteenth meeting as well as preparations for the International Conference on Population and Development, 1994.

We are conscious of the social, economic and political difficulties faced by most African countries since the early 1980s, the widening North-South gap, the insufficiency of available resources for implementing national population programmes and the unfavourable outlook of the world economy.

We assert the prime responsibility of African Governments to improve the quality of life of the African peoples and redress their economic and social situation. We are concerned about the persistent high population growth rate and associated high fertility levels, high infant, child and maternal mortality levels, high morbidity, incidence of AIDS, significant imbalance in the geographic distribution of the population in the region, inadequate policies for the improvement of the legal status of women in the family, its integration into the development process, ineffective programmes for children and young people, problems of refugees and displaced persons, inadequate information systems and low level of data utilization. We recognize the need for an increased role of the public and private sectors as well as non-governmental organizations in population and integrated development programmes.

We are mindful of the fact that the family is the basic unit in society and, as such, needs and is entitled to support and protection by society and the state in order to play its role in development.

We have further noted that despite the increased number of explicit population policies formulated, the implementation rate of the Kilimanjaro Programme of Action for African Population and Self-reliant Development (KPA) remains low.

We have also noted that in spite of the efforts made by African Governments to reduce mortality, morbidity and infant mortality to the extent that the regional life expectancy at birth has risen from 49 years in 1984 to 51 years in 1992, fertility and mortality levels remain high in most countries. We consider that this situation is worsened by rural-urban drift and that there are also problems with empowering women to play an effective role in development, in implementing programmes designed to promote children and young people and in particular to remove the causes of unequal treatment of young girls, providing adequate data and information for the formulation of population policies; broadening and deepening the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and putting in place needed national focal points to assist in the integration of population factors in the development planning process.

We recognize that population matters are an integral part of the socio-economic development process and as such should be accorded high priority in the allocation of financial resources


Now, whereas

(a) African countries affirm their solidarity in dealing with population problems and undertake to formulate population policies respecting the sovereign rights of each country along with the freedom, dignity and intrinsic values of their peoples and taking into account the relevant moral and cultural factors, and bear responsibility for reaffirming the rights and obligations of individuals and couples;

(b) the successful pursuit of any population policy requires the institution of a stable political and social environment and calls for the elimination of all forms of extremism that breed conflict and instability;

(c) the family, as an essential component of the economic and social fabric, requires the pursuit of appropriate strategies, adapted to family services, which should, themselves, form an integral part of population and development policies which address the needs of all members, especially adolescents;

(d) in recognition of the critical roles of women in family formation and their major contribution to social economic development, rights, status and needs of women, particularly in the areas of education, employment, and health care services should be explicit in all national development planning.;

(e) the countries and peoples of Africa have experienced prolonged periods of economic and social hardships since adoption of the KPA in 1984, stemming from natural and man-made causes such as: rising poverty levels, problems of refugees and displaced persons, internal and international migration, environmental deterioration, natural disasters, growing debt burdens, declining economic trade opportunities, HIV/AIDS and food shortages;

(f) the formulation and implementation of comprehensive population policies reflecting the realities of each country should be accelerated simultaneously with sustained economic growth to assure the achievement of long-term objectives of food security, and sustainable development;

(g) the provision of training and research (in population and development) are essential ingredients to effective integration of population factors in development planning;

(h) the success of national and regional efforts in the field of population and development depends to a large extent on a conducive, supportive international economic environment.

We hereby declare that:

A. African Governments should

1. Population, sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

a) Integrate population policies and programmes in development strategies, focusing on strengthening social sectors with a view to influencing human development and work towards the solution of population problems by setting quantified national objectives for the reduction of population growth rate from 3.0 to 2.5 per cent by the year 2000 and 2 per cent by the year 2010;

b) implement measures to tackle the underlying causes of environmental degradation such as poverty, focusing on environmentally sound and appropriate technologies; enhance the quality of the environment by reversing deforestation and soil erosion, checking the spread of deserts and adopting priority programmes aimed at management of water resources, with a view to reducing the impact of recurrent droughts and the resultant food shortages;

c) place greater emphasis on such matters as food security, marketing services, appropriate agricultural mechanization, research and extension services, more efficient use of land and farming systems, livestock development and assistance programmes to small farmers;

d) strengthen industrial strategies at the country level so as to encourage economic growth;

e) exchange experiences in population policy and programme formulation and strengthen national and sub-national institutions in charge of their implementation.

2. Family

a) Take due account of the rights and responsibilities of all family members and ensure that measures that protect the family from socio-economic distress and disintegration are taken into account in accordance with family well-being and health requirements, bearing in mind the survival strategies designed by the families themselves. Also provide couples and individuals with the facilities and resources for deciding the size of their families;

b) integrate family concerns in all development plans, policies and programmes and encourage analytical studies on demographic processes within the family cycle so as to better identify the determinants of small family size.

3. Fertility and family planning

a) Create a conducive socio-economic climate and sustained political will for the pursuit of such effective fertility policies so as to make for: (i) setting fertility and family planning (FP) targets for all people of reproductive age and take measures to reduce infertility where needed; (ii) implementing legal measures to improve the status of women and their reproductive health; (iii) establishing strong maternal and child health (MCH) programmes; (iv) ensuring strong management and close collaboration between private and public sectors and communities in the implementation of their MCH and national FP programmes; (v) decentralizing health care delivery systems for urban and rural areas; (vi) strengthening information, education and communication (IEC) in MCH and FP programmes; (vii) strengthening family institutions; (viii) addressing unmet family planning needs of adolescents and others; and (ix) promoting of the education of men and women on joint responsible parenthood;

b) ensure the availability and promote the use of all tested available contraceptive and fertility regulation methods, including traditional and natural family planning methods ensuring choice of methods with a view to doubling the regional contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) from about 10 to about 20 per cent by the year 2000 and 40 per cent by the year 2010;

c) study the possibility of production of contraceptives within the region;

d) promote national research in human reproduction and increase capabilities through collaboration with the WHO Programme of Research, Development and Training in Human Reproduction (RDTHR) and other internationally recognized research organizations.

4. Mortality, morbidity and AIDS

a) Give priority to combating infant, child and maternal morbidity and mortality by giving special attention to primary health care programmes as integral parts of their preventive health education in school curricula at all levels and non-conventional education; enacting legislation to promote clean environment in rural and urban areas; launching national campaigns to increase availability of safe water and sanitation, increasing support to nutrition programmes and giving priority to vulnerable groups for food accessibility in areas of shortage;

b) establish and strengthen programmes to combat spread of AIDS and health problems as part of the overall health programmes with special focus being given to high-risk groups;

c) aim, by the year 2000, for the region as a whole, at a life expectancy at birth of at least 55 years, an infant mortality rate of less than 50 per 1000 live births, childhood mortality rate of 70 or less. Develop and implement programmes aimed at reducing maternal mortality by at least 50 per cent from 1990 level by the year 2000. Such programmes should include quality family planning services and studies in order to reduce the increasing problem of unsafe abortion, estimated to cause 30-50 per cent of maternal mortality in part of Africa.

d) implement health programmes such as the African Health Development Framework (AHDF) which was adopted by member States of WHO/Africa region in 1985.

5. Urbanization, migration and physical planning.

a) Address the urbanization and migration issues from a comprehensive integrated perspective taking into account the underlying causes and impact whether of demographic, social economic nature, place greater emphasis on regional development planning to achieve, among the regions of the individual countries, a more equitable distribution of all development efforts, as well as a better distribution of their population;improve the management of cities and urban areas; intensify rural development programmes in order to lessen the pressure to out-migrate to the cities; and, make an assessment of urban population growth;

b) considering the importance of migratory flows of the African population within Africa and between Africa and other continents, a common position should be adopted by the countries concerned within the framework of international conventions regarding the adoption of appropriate measures to protect people's rights and guarantee their security.

6. Refugees and displaced persons

a) Exert every effort to tackle the acute problems of refugees and displaced persons by setting up an integrated plan capable of dealing with the root causes and foresee solution for the immediate, medium and long terms;

b) take appropriate measures to protect and assist refugees in terms of paragraph 43 of the KPA;

c) ensure that priority is given in policy making to the elimination of the underlying causes of the refugee situation through negotiation, conflict resolution, democratization, and respect for human rights and that refugees and returnees are included in population oriented development plans and that the policy of voluntary repatriation should be integrated in development plan;

d) ensure that adequate services are provided for refugee and displaced persons as they enter the country of asylum and at the point of their voluntary repatriation with the support of the international community.

7. Women in development

a) Adopt a national policy on improving the role, status and participation of women,taking into account main streaming as a means of incorporating women's programmes into all aspects of development, and monitor its implementation at the highest government level in accordance with the Abuja Declaration on Participatory Development: The role of African Women in Development during the 1990s and Beyond; take necessary steps to eliminate discrimination against women, as well as certain traditional and cultural practices and religious extremism which inhibit their effective advancement and participation in development;

b) institute and strengthen programmes for reforming the educational system and vocational training with a view to providing basic education to all those at school age with particular emphasis on the education of girls;

c) establish programmes and

(i) pass legislation to enhance the legal status of women within the family and the community with a view to enabling women to contribute more directly in decision making, and in the formulation of strategies aimed at upholding family values, providing support to family members and contributing to stability in society;

(ii) formulate national policies and initiate measures aimed at ensuring greater participation and assumption of responsibilities by men in the maintenance and nurturing of their families and enacting national legislation that will emphasize the complementary and equal partnership role that men and women have to play in development;

8. Children

Ratify the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child adopted by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1990, implement the Declaration and Plan of Action of the World Summit on Children and conclusions and recommendations of the OAU International Conference on Assistance to the African Child.

9. Youth

a) Ensure that population programmes provide education, counselling and other support services for young people and promote their participation in all development activities;

b) formulate national policies aimed at protecting the youth from any form of abuse, economic exploitation, especially child labour, as well as other policies and programmes aimed at curbing drug abuse and alcoholism;

c) adopt a comprehensive strategy on youth encompassing (i) the development and implementation of policies for young people, as well as educational, cultural and vocational training programmes; (ii) strengthening MCH and FP services; (iii) improving the role and status and participation of youth in society; (iv) providing employment opportunities for young people; and (v) involving young people in the activities of youth-related non-governmental organizations.

10. Data collection and analysis, information dissemination, training and research.

a) Make determined and sustained efforts to improve population and demographic data, including the establishment of civil registration and vital statistic systems, ensuring the cost effectiveness of censuses without necessarily compromising data quality and encouraging inter-censal socio-demographic sample surveys to be undertaken;

b) Carry out qualitative studies to assess the impact of population programmes on the family;

c) ensure that training and research in population and development in African universities and research institutes are coordinated and the findings together with their implications effectively disseminated and brought to the attention of all concerned;

d) strengthen regional institutes and enhance cooperation among African countries in the area of training, research and data collection;

e) carry out studies on the complex inter-relationships between population, environment and sustainable development in order to assist African Governments to formulate and implement relevant policies;

f) put in place and strengthen national focal points for collecting and disseminating population and development information on the basis of gender together with the provision of adequate resources.

11. Information, education and communication (IEC).

a) Develop IEC programmes that involve recipients as partners and are research based (including base-line studies), specifically targeted, culturally appropriate, rooted in local languages as far as possible and linked with follow-up activities including the delivery of family planning services;

b) implement strong IEC strategies and follow-up studies, ensure greater involvement of and access to the mass media in IEC, undertake follow-up studies on constraints to African media organizations; and train managers and professionals in the interpretation and use of population information.

B. Private and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should:

a) Promote community participation and involve communities in programme planning, implementation and financing; enhance collaboration and coordination with multilateral and bilateral organizations, other organizations and government agencies;

b) be strengthened and considered full partners by governments in the implementation of population programmes and in contributing towards the formulation of related policies. They should also be involved in large-scale replication of successful innovative pilot programmes;

c) promote popular participation in population-related issues including environmental protection, attitudinal change, health and education.

C. the subregional and regional groupings should:

a) Play their role in population-related matters by supporting policies that ease, inter alia, population movements particularly of women, and movement of goods, through flexible migration laws facilitating the voluntary redistribution of population and amelioration of economic conditions through intraregional trade;

b) promote technical cooperation including the implementation of joint subregional programmes in the field of research, training and environmental protection.

D. ECA, UNFPA, the World Bank and other relevant organizations of the United Nations system as well as such regional organizations as OAU and ADB should:

Undertake all possible measures to implement, within their respective mandates, the recommendations of this Conference, including, where appropriate, joint activities.

E. The international community should:

a) Continue to increase its assistance to African countries in the fields of population and development, long-term perspective development planning including those related to refugees and returnees, training and research; strengthen and expand support to all types and levels of training (in population and development) and help to strengthen the institution-building capacity of African countries; and establish technical structures to support programmes taking into account problems related to liaison and communication;

b) consider conversion of African debt into grants to be used in financing social programmes including population activities;

c) strengthen South-South cooperation with regard to training, exchange of information, sharing of experiences, know-how, and technical expertise.


a) In this endeavour, we strongly appeal to the African Governments to ensure that adequate planning and budget allocations should be made in tandem with nationally proclaimed prioritization of population development programmes to avoid paying lip-service to this very important program. We also appeal to them to ensure that budget appropriations are devoted to national population and socio- economic development programmes that further their objectives and make selective use of fees and other forms of cost recovery, cost sharing and accessing local resources of philanthropy to generate domestic resources to support service delivery programmes and the provision of contraceptives, as well as traditional fertility regulation and natural family planning methods.

b) We also appeal to donors to respond positively and increasingly to request for population assistance and activities and improve their coordination of population assistance with other bilateral and multilateral donors to ensure that population needs and requirements of African countries are properly addressed out of the 4 per cent target of official development assistance (ODA) to be devoted to population programmes to achieve the goals of the Amsterdam Declaration.

c) We appeal to UNFPA to consider Africa as a priority region and accordingly increase the resources allocated to the development of population policies and programmes.


a) In adopting this Declaration, we, the African Governments participating in the Third African Population Conference, hereby express our full commitment to implement the aforesaid recommendations and, in this context, urge all member States and all concerned institutions to establish appropriate joint follow-up and evaluation mechanisms.

b) Considering the importance of a follow-up mechanism for the implementation of this Declaration, we recommend that the ECA regional multidisciplinary expertise be reinforced to play its role in the monitoring and evaluation of its implementation.

c) We express our profound appreciation to the Government and the people of Senegal, especially His Excellency Abdou Diouf, President of the Republic of Senegal, Chairman both of the Organization of African Unity the Organization of the Islamic Conference, who has consistently been at the forefront of economic cooperation among African countries and North-South cooperation. We are most grateful for having had the occasion to hold this historic meeting of our Conference in this beautiful city of Dakar under the most conducive atmosphere of cordiality and warm hospitality "


By Mellesse Gebre,


Many women and especially young girls suffer death and serious illness as a result of unsafe abortion trying to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Lack of awareness of the existence and availability of other methods to avoid unplanned and unwanted pregnancies is the main reason for many women and young girls to opt for abortion. Religion and some cultural norms also play a big role in influencing the women and young girls to go for abortion in case one becomes pregnant out of wedlock and also if the pregnancy is unwanted. It has been estimated that 10 to 12% of all pregnancies terminate as abortions.

Abortion is a dangerous and life risking exercise if performed by unskilled persons outside of health institutions. The victims lose a lot of blood and get infection from the unsterilized instruments and the place of operation. Unless the victim reaches a well organized health institution with adequate facility and well trained personnel on time, it is likely that the victim would lose her life because of the heavy loss of blood and the serious infection.

The numbers of women and young girls opting for unsafe abortion and losing their lives unnecessarily are increasing especially in small and big towns.


The term "abortion" as presently used, stems from the Latin word "aboriri"

meaning "to perish". Abortion may be defined as the termination of pregnancy before an independent viability of the foetus has been attained. It is one form of human reproductive wastage, the general descriptive

term for loss of embryonical and foetal lives in reproduction. Wastage may occur throughout pregnancy during the birth process and in the first days following delivery. Very few foetuses weighing less than 1000 grams and born earlier than 24 weeks after conception survive and pregnancies terminated prior to this period (24 weeks) are generally considered abortions.


In general abortion is classified into two types, namely spontaneous abortion, and induced abortion.

When a pregnancy is terminated involuntarily, it is called spontaneous abortion and when a pregnancy on the other hand, is terminated voluntarily it is called induced abortion.

Spontaneous abortion again can be divided into:

a) threatened abortion - This may go to complete abortion or may survive.

b) inevitable abortion - This is sure to be an abortion.

c) complete abortion - This is a complete expulsion of the content of the womb with some tissues. remaining behind. The woman continues to bleed and would need to have dilatation and curettage (D & C) to stop the bleeding.

Induced abortion on the other hand is divided into:

a) Criminal or septic abortion - This usually refers to abortion done by unskilled persons outside of a health institution. It is also called illegal abortion. This is the type of abortion responsible for most of the deaths of women and girls.

b) Medical abortion - This refers to abortion done by professionals within a health institution to save the life of the mother when her life is threatened because of the pregnancy or for other reasons as prescribed in the legal code.


The type of induced abortion known as criminal/septic abortion is clearly the most risky and most dangerous type of all abortions. Criminal/septic abortion, as the name implies, is a method of expulsion of the foetus by inserting of a hard substance usually a root of a plant into the cervix trying to cause bleeding and induce contraction of the uterus to expel out its content. Some people also use over dosage of some drugs (chloroquine) or toxic fluids or reagents to induce the abortion. All these unhygienic and unsafe malpractices make the victim to profusely bleed and poison the foetus thereby inducing the womb to expel the foetus. Except for the few fortunate ones, the majority of the victims of such practices run the risk of shock as a result of loss of a lot of blood and suffer a severe infection because of the unhygienic place and materials used to induce the abortion. As a result, most of these women and young girls who undergo such malpractices die miserably even if they can reach a health institution at the final hour. The loss of blood and the severity of the infection make it impossible for the health professionals to save the lives of these victims.

Those who survive by a miracle often suffer a complication which could be sometimes life long. Chronic anemia, inability to control urine and feces, septicemia, abscesses, peritonitis etc.. are the usual complications women suffer from unsafe abortions.

Why do women resort to this risky and dangerous method? Why and when does a pregnancy become unwanted? Abortion especially induced abortion is as old as humanity and probably happens in all cultures. When pregnancy prevention fails, the management of an unintended and unplanned pregnancy becomes an urgent personal concern. When that unplanned pregnancy threatens the well being of the woman, the partner, the family or other children or if such situation violates the set standard of one's religion or tradition or value of the society, then the pregnancy becomes unwanted.

Throughout recorded history, women have resorted to induced abortion to terminate unwanted pregnancies regardless of religious and legal sanctions and often at the cost of their lives or suffering of a life long complications.


Criminal abortion or unsafe abortion is one of the five leading causes of maternal mortality in Africa. In countries where access to safe abortion services is legally or logistically restricted, unsafe abortion performed by untrained persons in unhygienic conditions contribute significantly to maternal deaths.

In a review of induced abortion in Sub-Saharan Africa, Coeytaux (1988), noted that abortion related deaths are major causes of maternal mortality in Africa, and the treatment of incomplete and septic abortions severely taxes the scarce health resources of governments through out the region. Rogo (1990), a faculty member of the University of Nairobi and a clinician at Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, claims that in East and Central Africa, at least 20% of all maternal deaths are estimated to be due to complications of induced abortion. This figure reaches 21% and 54% in the United Republic of Tanzania and Ethiopia respectively.

The problem of abortion and its consequences on the health and well being of women is very well appreciated and concern is being expressed both by African policy makers and health Authorities. However, existing literatures on abortion in Sub-Saharan Africa only hints at the magnitude and urgency of the problem and provide very little information on its nature or social epidemiology.


In view of the magnitude of the problem, there is a need for research work to get the necessary information on the nature and social epidemiology of abortion. Meanwhile, there are other measures that need to be undertaken by policy makers and health authorities of African countries:

a) Legal restrictions on abortion should be liberalized:

b) Governments should reorganize and strengthen health infrastructures in order to give adequate services to victims of criminal abortions. This should include strengthening reproductive health service and family planning programmes;

c) Governments should introduce a strong family life education int heir school curriculum;

d) Population information education and communication services should be introduced and/or expanded to raise the level of awareness of planners and policy makers as well as the general public on the seriousness of the problem and appropriate measures to be taken; and

e) Operational researches should be carried out so that it is possible to design, develop and implement appropriate strategies in an all out effort to stop unsafe abortion


1) Encyclopedia Britannia, vol. 1, INC. Society of Gentlemen in Scotland, William Benton, 1768 Pages 42 and 43.

World Health Organization.

2) Preventing maternal deaths
Erica Royston and Sue Armstrong, 1989.

3) Studies in Family Planning
Vol. 19 No. 3, 1988 and Vol. 23 No. 1, 1992.

4) Robert H. Weller & Leon F. Bouvier
Population, Demography & Policy St. Martin's press, 1981.


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