Fostering Economic Growth, Equity, and Resilience in sub-Saharan Africa: The role of Family Planning
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is undergoing major transformations. In the last decade, the region has experienced strong economic growth, reduced maternal and infant deaths, increased levels of education, and new advances in technologies and telecommunications—creating the conditions for a robust future. However, recent economic growth rates have slowed, underscoring the need for new strategies. Persistent high rates of population growth threaten to undermine future economic growth as well as other social and development advancements. In addition, more than 335 million people live in poverty and many are left out of the progress. The great challenges leaders face are how to cope with growing populations, reduce poverty and inequity, build the resilience of those most vulnerable, be competitive in today’s global economy, and improve people’s lives without compromising the environment or the well-being of future generations.
Tackling these challenges requires cross-sectoral collaboration, innovative approaches, and making the most of all available interventions. Family planning is one intervention that could and should be further leveraged. This review examines the critical role of voluntary family planning in Africa’s future. It provides an overview of the status of family planning over the last five years, and explores family planning’s tremendous potential to make a difference in many of the social and economic obstacles facing SSA today.