Kenya says UN population figures overstated


Kenya’s population growth could be a boom in terms of young and dynamic citizens. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya has disputed the UN’s announcement that the country’s population has increased by more than one million to stand at 45.5 million. The National Council for Population and Development reckons that the figures announced by the UN agencies are overstated.

According to a new report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released this week, Kenya had a population of 44.4 million people last year. The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) earlier said that Kenya will have 47 million people in 2015, 66 million in 2030 and 97 million in 2050.

Kenya’s urban population that is growing 26 per cent will live in cities and towns next year, 33 per cent in 2030 and 44 per cent in 2050, making infrastructure provision — such as roads, schools, health facilities and sanitation — the government’s biggest priority.

“I don’t think the figure is correct because the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reviewed it recently to 41 million. That figure is quiet high,” said an official at National Council for Population and Development.

The KNBS puts Kenya’s population at 41.8 million for 2013—6.2 per cent lower than the UNFPA figure of 44.4 million. The Unicef reckons that more than half of Kenyans will leave in towns and cities over the next 35 years, creating a huge demand for services such as hospitals and schools.

The rate of population growth could be a boom for Kenya in terms of a young and dynamic population but only if the youth are empowered. Currently, the country’s unemployment rates stands at about 40 per cent.

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