It’s one of the fastest falling fertility rates anywhere in the world. At the University of Botswana, in the country’s capital of Gaborone, Dr Chelsea Morroni considers the issue. “Everyone is always asking how did this happen?”
Sub-Saharan Africa is set to grow faster than anywhere: there were 1 billion Africans in 2010, but that number will grow to 2.5 billion by 2050. Some have warned that this growth risks “driving civilisation over the edge”, a controversial view given that it is rich countries, not poor, that lead the way on consuming the world’s resources.
Enabling women to control their fertility – a move that almost inevitably leads to them having fewer babies – is not just about a tussle over resources, or the environment: it brings enormous ramifications for women’s health, education and employment – with knock-on effects for society and the economy.
The infant mortality rate decreased from 97.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1971 to 17 in 2011
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