Oct , 17

This paper examines the link between population and per capita economic growth in Uganda. Uganda has one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Due to inherent demographic momentum, this growth will persist for some time to come. Theoretical considerations as well as strong empirical evidence suggest that the currently high population growth puts a considerable break on per capita growth prospects in Uganda. It contributes significantly to low achievements in education, health, and poverty reduction and will make improvements in these areas very difficult. It may also be an important factor in the increase of inequality. If Uganda began a period of sustained fertility decline, the estimates reviewed would suggest medium term per capita growth rates by between 0.5-0.6 percentage points per year. Considering the favourable age structure dynamics such a fertility decline would generate, per capita growth could increase by between 1.5 and 3 percentage points. It could also significantly contribute to improvements in poverty, inequality, education, and health outcomes. The note emphasizes the importance of a concerted effort to promote female education (including progression, completion, and secondary education), female formal sector employment, investments in reproductive and child health as well as family planning services, and government political leadership to promote smaller families.

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