UN agency encourages family planning in Nigeria

AP News
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Posted: Nov 18, 2014 3:13 PM

LONDON (AP) — The Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund is encouraging family planning in Nigeria to manage the country's population growth.

Babatunde Osotimehin told The Associated Press that allowing women to decide when to have children would benefit Nigeria's economy.

He was responding to a U.N. report released Tuesday that highlights the economic benefits of shifting from high fertility to low fertility rates.

Nigeria featured as a case study in the "The Power of 1.8 billion: Adolescents, Youth and the Transformation of the Future." The report claims Nigeria could benefit significantly from what is called a demographic dividend, which can occur when a county's working age population is larger than the dependent, younger population.

"A slight decline in fertility would raise output per capita by 5.6 percent at a horizon of 20 years and by 11.9 percent at a horizon of 50 years," says the report.

Nigeria should commit to policies that encourage family planning which is still relatively low in Nigeria due to cultural and religious beliefs, said Abiodun Baiyewu, the country director of Global Rights.

Nigeria's population of 170 million people is expected to double in 22 years and surpass that of the U.S. by 2050 according to U.N. projections.