In an article in the American New York Times, David Sims wrote that monitoring the birth of a hundred million people does not only indicate reproduction but is disturbing in a country that suffers from the obsession with the population explosion, aggravating poverty and unemployment.
Sims is a lecturer at the American University in Cairo and author of Understanding Cairo: The Logic of a City Out of Control.
The American expert said that Al-Sisi described the population increase as a threat to national security equal to terrorism, and tried to avoid it with a “2 adequacy” campaign, but the presidential campaign failed like many of its counterparts.
Overpopulation cannot justify failure
But the opposition believes that successive governments take the population increase in a peg attached to its failure to confront the deteriorating economy and declining rates of development.
The article reports that childbearing rates have risen since 2008 to 3.5 children per woman, according to United Nations statistics, and that the rate of increase in the population reached 1.8% annually, a rate that adds one million citizens every six months in Egyptian cities and towns that are already crowded with people.
Population crisis amplified
The American writer pointed out that the population crisis was amplified in Egypt due to its cruel and unforgiving geography, as 95% of the population lives on only about 4% of the land, which is a green belt equal to almost half of Ireland’s area and follows the Nile as it continues to crawl across the desert and then branch To two branches in the fertile Nile Delta.
The article says that the construction of a huge new dam on the Nile in Ethiopia – due to start filling this summer – raised Egyptians’ concerns about the current approach to living on the river.
High incidence of poverty
The article cited examples of highly populated developing countries that had managed to control the problem, such as Vietnam, which reduced the rate of increase to 1%, as did Bangladesh with a population of more than 160 million people.
More than 700,000 young Egyptians enter the job market every year, adding that it is “an arduous task for any government, and providing housing for these is another challenge,” said Alexander Poderosa, the UNFPA representative in Egypt.
The article stated that Sisi had established many mega projects like the new capital, but very few Egyptians could afford to live in developed and luxurious places.
He pointed out that most people are crammed into informal settlements that are constantly spreading on the outskirts of Cairo and other cities, where villages are transformed into cities that harbor the poor, while agricultural lands are followed by informal development.
Experts say the government has a dismal record in providing new housing for the poor, and, according to the author, the poverty rate is rising, reaching 32.5% last summer, according to government statistics.