Denmark has committed to spend 91 million kroner (£11 million) funding contraceptives in Africa, asserting that the measure could help “limit the migration pressure on Europe.”
Ulla Tørnæs, the Danish minister for Development Cooperation, said that 225 million women in the world’s poorest countries lack access to contraception at a family planning summit in London this week.
Stating that unwanted pregnancies have “enormous human costs in developing countries”, the minister highlighted maternal mortality rates and how young women have to forego education in order to raise children.
“But it also has large social costs,” she added, noting that “the steps that many of these countries are taking to develop are being hampered by high population growth.”
Referring to Africa, Tørnæs asserted that curtailing the continent’s runaway population growth by increasing access to contraception is “an important priority for the [Danish] government in both foreign and security policies.
“Part of the solution to reducing migratory pressures on Europe is to reduce the very high population growth in many African countries,” said the minister, stressing that, “If the population growth in Africa continues as now, the African population will double from 1.2 billion people to 2.5 billion people by 2050.”
Tørnæs was referring to world demographics projections made by the United Nations (UN) Population Division using its “medium fertility variant”, which assumes that total fertility rates converge toward fewer than two babies per woman by the end of the century.
According to a 2011 study authored by former UN Population Division director Joseph Chamie, Africa’s population could grow extremely rapidly if fertility rates remain unchanged, potentially reaching 15 billion by 2100 — around 15 times Africa’s current population.
Chamie, currently with the New York-based Center for Migration Studies, said that “For many African countries, especially for the least developed, rapidly growing populations will pose serious challenges for their overall development, including future economic growth.”