Parliamentarians of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) last weekend expressed their willingness to limit the fertility rate to three children per woman in the Sub-region, Cotonou-based La Nouvelle Tribune news portal reports.
“ECOWAS parliamentarians agreed that by 2030, member states should encourage and put in place policies to ensure that every woman has three children in maximum to control the demographic boom in the region,” Speaker of the Burkinabe National Assembly, Salif Diallo was quoted as saying.
He called on ECOWAS countries to adopt measures including universal access to family planning, improved education for women and better health care of children, to bring about “a rapid, voluntary decline” in the birth rate.
“We are in a situation of uncontrolled demography and we cannot hope for development with such a situation,” Diallo cautioned.
“It is urgent to contain the demographic push in the ECOWAS space to promote real, viable and durable development,’ he said.
The call triggered to a wave of mixed reactions across the region. A petition circulated online over the weekend called to say no to the limitation of births in the ECOWAS region.
With an average fertility rate of 5.6 children per woman, the highest in the world, the population in the 15-nation West African regional bloc will reach a billion people by 2050 if no changes are made, according to UN estimates.