ZAMBIA’s population will continue growing from 13 million people in 2011 to 26 million by the year 2035, according to the Central Statistical Office.
At a press conference to mark World Population Day which fell yesterday, Central Statistical Office (CSO) census manager Richard Banda said Zambia had a high rate of population growth at three per cent per annum.
Banda said tackling poverty with a high rate of population growth was always a challenge.
“There is a challenge of providing employment, decent housing but in absolute terms, people are better off today than they were 10 years ago,” said Banda.
And United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said investing in young people would ensure that they are equipped to be a powerful force for Zambia’s future economic growth and prosperity.
UNFPA representative Dual Owusu-Sarfo said each and every adolescent deserved to grow up healthy, free of hunger, with access to education and prospects for employment.
“Investments and improvements in health, especially sexual and reproductive health, as well as education education and tertiary will ensure that youths are equipped to be powerful force for Zambia’s future economic growth and prosperity,” Sarfo said.
He said a growing population is a reminder of the role of girls and women and of the enormous risk and challenges that they continue to face around the world.
Sarfo said girls and women are a powerful transformative voice for the country.
He said addressing gender equality, reducing gender-based violence and improving opportunities for access to positions of decision-making and economic empowerment would help ensure the fullest participation of all Zambians in breaking the cycle of poverty.
Sarfo said protecting and promoting reproductive health and rights is critical.
“Concerted action on this will ensure that Zambia reaches its Millennium development Goal (MDG) target for improving maternal health and gender equality thereby the rest of the targets by 2015,” said Sarfo.
Ministry of Finance and National Planning social and population unit chief planner Mainga Luwabelwa said there is need for more allocation of resources to agriculture and health sectors to improve the welfare of people.
Luwabelwa said the government was engaging several stakeholders in developing Zambia in various sectors of the economy.