Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rwanda is planning to limit couples to no more than three children because of rising poverty in Africa's most densely populated country

BBC News:

The country has one of the world's highest birth rates. Some are keen to have children to replace the family members lost during the 1994 genocide.

The government is holding discussions with church leaders - hoping to win their support for population control.

Some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in the 100-day genocide.

President Paul Kagame is hoping to cut the birth rate by half - the average number of children per couple is six.

The country's population has quadrupled in the past 50 years and its nearly 9m people is expected to double again by 2030.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation says it is the first time an African government has attempted to set a limit on the size of families.

The BBC's Geoffrey Mutagoma in the capital, Kigali, says the growth rate of the economy does not match the alarming population growth.

Rwanda is a small country that is already extensively cultivated and one whose soils are being heavily eroded.

For this reason the government is now trying to sell the idea of cutting the birth rate to religious leaders.

Our reporter says that in Rwanda, religion is part of the social and moral fabric and therefore has a strong influence on people's beliefs and practices.

If the discussions go well, the government could quicken moves to legislation on the issue - which have previously been blocked, the New York Times reports.

"Because of the genocide, many people didn't want to hear about birth control," the paper quotes MP Odette Nyiramilimo as saying.

Rwanda plans to control population growth

After so many deaths, too many births in Rwanda


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