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January 1, 2013

JK: Population Growth Too High

  44.929 million now; to hit 51 million in 4 years
President Jakaya Kikwete presses computer key to launch 2012 Population and Housing Census results at Mnazi Mmoja grounds in Dar es Salaam yesterday. The figure displayed on the computer screen shows that Tanzania�s population is now 44,929,002. Looking on are Vice President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal and Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda. (Photo: Tryphone Mweji)
President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday released preliminary results of this year’s National Population and Housing Census showing that in ten years the country’s population has grown to 44,929,002 from 34.4 million people in 2002.

Of these 43,625,434 people were counted on Tanzania Mainland and 1,303, 568 in Zanzibar.

According to the figures, the population grew by 26 percent over the last ten years, or at the average rate of 2.6 percent annually, which the President described as too big in such a period of time, noting that the population was projected to reach 51 million, in the next four years.

“This figure may not seem to be a problem to the people for such a vast country like Tanzania, but it is burden as it affects the country’s economic development and the community in general,” President Kikwete said.

He said the government will need to come up with development strategies in order to accommodate the present and future population, calling on people to work hard to provide basic needs to their families.

The President also challenged the public to use family planning to control the population growth or else the situation could worsen in the future.

He said while the government will strive to provide important services needed by the population, families must plan the number of children they can take care of within their means.

The President said government will release further information on the country’s population indicating the number of men and women and other groups in the society by February, next year.

He said despite the challenges encountered during the counting, the exercise set to cost a total of 140bn/- has been successful, adding that the government had already spent 124bn/-.

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda thanked all those who made the exercise succeed, including development partners and wananchi.
He cited a bigger input of local expertise in the preparation and execution of the 2012 population of housing and census.

“We made a promise that at end of December we will release the results and today everybody is here to witness it happen. It was not a simple task, but the close collaboration of the community and other stakeholders from Zanzibar and Mainland enabled us to complete the exercise,” he said
Zanzibar Second Vice President Ambassador Seif Ali Idd said public institutions and organisations should use the population and housing census to bring development in the country and to families.

“The results will have a great meaning if only people use them effectively. I call upon you to increase productivity, add effort in work,” he said
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Tanzania Representative Mariam Khan, said the census results were an opportunity to adjust development policies and programmes so that the national and global goals set by the government can be met sooner rather than later.

She said the importance of a census cannot be overstated particularly for developing countries like Tanzania with development commitments and agendas that require integration of population aspects into short, medium and long term development plans.

Commenting on the results Prof Ibrahim Lipumba, who is an economist, said the population growth has great impact on the economy, especially on youth employment.

He said it was time the government ensured that the country’s resources were efficiently utilised and proper strategies to solve youth joblessness.

“The President has stressed family planning which is very crucial in addressing this kind of growth rate …people should have children they could manage to provide for in terms of basic needs,” Prof Lipumba said.

A University of Dar es Salaam student Elias John said apart from family planning, there was also need for the government to come up with clear policies to manage the resources of the country.
He said with proper management and utilisation of the resources the country can meet the needs of the growing population without any problem.

“There are a few people who have been enjoying the country’s resources while others languish in poverty …this growth is a challenge to the government especially in ensuring proper use of the country’s resources,” he said.

Temeke resident Raphael Maganga said the population figure was a threat to the economy because it was difficult for the government to meet the needs of all people. The government needed to come up with plans that will enable its people access important services such as health, education and water among others.
Maganga cited unemployment facing the majority of the youths in the country, wondering how the government would address the problem.

The 2012 national population housing census exercise started on August 26 ended 8 September in Zanzibar and Mainland. 
The first census to be conducted in Tanzania took place in 1910. Last four censuses after independence were held in the years 1967, 1978, 1988 and 2002. According to the last census held in August 2002, the population in Tanzania was 34,443,603.

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