Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki

A statement issued in Nairobi said the Cabinet which was chaired by President Mwai Kibaki approved the Population Policy for National Development aimed at finding ways of reaching a higher quality of life for Kenyans.

“The objective of the policy is to find ways of attaining a higher quality of life for the citizens of Kenya through the maintenance of a manageable population growth rate,” said the statement which was issued after the meeting.

Last month, Kenya ’s Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya decried high population growth rate which he said is one of the key constraints in achieving Vision 2030 which aims at transforming the east African nation into middle income economy.

Oparanya said the current growth rate of three percent needs to be reduced in order for the country to develop.

“The government will not put an emphasis on the number of children per family but we will encourage them to have the number that they can afford to take care of in terms of food, health care and education,” the minister said on Feb. 14.

The statement said the policy proposes a wide range of measures to ensure that the country’s population growth rate is in tandem with the country’s resources.

“An effective application of the policy is expected to lead to reduced mortality and fertility rates, better skills utilization and empowerment of women.

“It is also expected to give rise to balanced social and economic growth path under sustainable environmental conditions,” the statement said.

Kenya was the first Sub-Saharan African country to initiate a national family planning in 1967, but cut backs in government expenditure affected the program.

The country’s leaders are all in agreement, that repositioning family planning is the best option especially during this period when there is a worldwide economic recession.

The country’s economic blue print has identified rapid population growth as one of the major constraints to socio- economic development so no effort will be spared in national efforts towards management of population for prosperity and as a critical strategy for freeing the available limited resources for socio-economic development in Kenya.

Analysts say that even internationally it has been recognized that there is need to reposition family planning especially in developing countries with high fertility, mortality and rapid population rates.

Meanwhile, during its meetings, the Cabinet also approved the establishment of the South-South Center . The center is expected to bring substantial benefits in terms of increased trade and investments for the country.

“The Center aims at promoting South-South cooperation in technology, new age businesses and partnerships with the private sector. It aims at the gradual integration of Kenya into the global economy,” the statement said.

The Thursday meeting also approved the establishment of a permanent secretariat of the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development.

The conference recently held its 4th gathering in Nairobi , where Kenya ’s minister for Housing was elected to head the Pan- African body.

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