By Innocent Anguyo
A United Nations Agency report has revealed that an estimated two million more Ugandans will be living in urban centres by next year.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) demographics report states that Ugandan urban centres will be home to at least 16.1 % of the country’s population, marking a one percent increment.
The Uganda National Health Survey (UNHS) 2010, undertaken by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) had established that about 15% of the population lived in urban centres.
This urbanization is attributed to rapid population growth. Uganda’s total population, the UNICEF report stated would equally rise by about 10 million people to 40 million (54.9% children), from the 30 million registered by UBOS in 2010.
Owing to high fertility rate estimated at 5.9 children per woman and rising numbers of women of reproductive age, the UNICEF report revealed that 1.6 million babies would be added to Uganda’s populace by 2015, taking the number of children under five to seven million.
The report dubbed Generation 2030 states that adolescence fertility rates for Uganda try will remain high with 127 births (12%) per 1,000 adolescent girls aged between 15 and 19. Global adolescence fertility rate will stand at 9%.
The percentage of married or in-union Ugandan women aged 15 to 49 using any method of contraception by next year is expected to remain below 40, despite UBOS recently establishing that 98.2% of women were knowledgeable on contraceptive methods.
This is blamed on lack of access to contraception. By next year, the report notes that between 25% and 35% of married or in-union Ugandan women aged 15 to 49 who want to stop or delay childbearing will still fail to access family planning services.
Uganda’s population is projected to keep increasing throughout the 21st century-first to 63 million people in 2030, and 104 million in 2050.
The report released by UNICEF last week, nevertheless established that fertility rate of Uganda would decline from 7.1 in 2010, to 5.9 by next year; 4.2 in 2030; and 3.2 in 2050.
By next year, UNICEF also predicts that the age dependency ration ratio will declined to 101, from 117 reported by UBOS in 2010. Dependency ratio is measured as children and elderly as a share of the working-age population (15–64 years).
Ugandan experts speak
Albert Tumwiine, an urban planner said such urbanization required government to improve social amenities in urban centres such as toilets, piped water, sewerage, electricity, schools, hospitals, roads and parks.
Suzan Akol, an environmentalist said there was need to plan settlements and decent housing for such migrants in urban areas. Uganda has a housing deficit of 500,000 with that of Kampala standing at 100,000, according to Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka.
Akol proposed establishment of cheap housing estates through Public-Private Partnerships.
Efforts to get comment from the Urban Development Minister, Rosemary Najjemba and Local Government State Minister Alex Onzima proved futile as they could not pick up calls.
Meanwhile, Africans will account for a quarter of the world population in 35 years from now, the report has revealed.
Worldwide, Africa is the only region where the population is projected to keep increasing throughout the 21st century.
Currently there are 1.2 billion people in Africa, more than five times the population in 1950. By 2050, Africa's population will double, to 2.4 billion and eventually reaching 4.2 billion by the end of the century.
Among the report's most important findings is a massive shift in the world's child population towards Africa.
Projections indicate that by 2050, around 40 per cent of all births, and about 40 per cent of all children, will be in Africa, up from about 10 per cent in 1950.
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UN predicts rapid urbanization in Uganda