Cairo: Egypt’s population reached 105 million on Saturday, according to the population clock linked to the government’s birth and death registration database.
On Oct. 1, 2022, the database put the population at 104 million, meaning that there has been an increase of 1 million in 245 days — eight months and five days.
“The increase of 1 million people in eight months is deeply concerning. This level of population growth presents a formidable challenge and a hindrance for the Egyptian state as it disrupts the path to development,” Fatima Mahmoud, a specialist at the Demographic Center in Cairo, told Arab News.
Mahmoud emphasized the government’s strong intent to manage population growth, highlighting that it significantly strains the state’s resources and budget.
“While the increase is indeed alarming, the situation isn’t entirely bleak. An analysis of the data on the difference in birth and death rates reveals that the recent increase of 1 million was reached in 245 days.
“Comparatively, the prior million increase was achieved in just 221 days, nearly 24 days (fewer). This indicates a noticeable decline in birth rates, a positive trend that should be supported by the government,” she said.
“Aid packages should be granted to families with two children, while community assistance should be withheld for those with more than two children. The government must innovate beyond conventional means to effectively control population growth as it poses a substantial threat to development,” Mahmoud added.
Meanwhile, the latest report from the Maat Foundation, which specializes in community studies, said that Egypt’s population growth “negatively impacts” the country’s ability to achieve sustainable development.
It explained: “The economic consequences of population increase include higher consumption among individuals, increased state expenditures on services, widespread unemployment, reduced wages in both public and private sectors, rising housing prices, urban expansion onto agricultural lands, deterioration of public facilities, and inflated allocations of public spending on essential services such as education, health, transportation, housing, social protection, and security.
“All these effects are unfortunately at the expense of capital expenditure on developmental projects in primary productive sectors like agriculture and the transformative industry.”
However, Dr. Alia Al-Mahdi, a professor at the faculty of economics and political science at Cairo University, argued that population increase “is not necessarily a barrier to economic development.”
She said: “A large population can become a positive factor for achieving growth and economic development if the state effectively utilizes the human resources, as demonstrated in countries like India and China, each with a population exceeding 1 billion.”
Al-Mahdi added: “Economic decline, deterioration, and sluggish growth rates are usually the catalysts for increased population growth. Conversely, population growth rates decrease when the economy is performing well and incomes are rising. This is reflected in citizens’ growing desire to enhance their quality of life, consequently reducing the birth rate.”