Kenya launches Population Policy that prioritises citizens on national development

Africa Science News

By Lenah Bosibori

The Government has launched the Sessional Paper No. 1 of 2023, the Kenya National Population Policy for Sustainable Development which shifts focus to a sustainable human development model that places Kenyans at the heart of national development.

The policy framework emphasizes maximising human capital potential with a focus on harnessing the demographic dividend to achieve sustainable development goals.

Speaking in Nairobi during the launch, Prof Njuguna Ndung’u the Cabinet Secretary of National Treasury and Economic Planning said that the government of Kenya has over the years implemented various population policies and programmes that have resulted in measured progress especially targeted on the reduction of rapid population growth.

“The Census results show that population growth was 2.9 per cent per annum between 1999 and 2009 to 2.2 per cent per annum, between 2009 and 2019. At this population growth rate, Kenya’s population is projected to reach 57.8 million by 2030. It is important to compare regions in Kenya as well but more importantly, the implication of this population structure by 2030 and the structure and required development facilities for that population,” said Prof Ndung’u.

Prof. Ndung’u noted that despite the progress, challenges still exist, the challenges according to him include environmental damage, climate change, and rapid and unplanned urbanization whose negative attributes are seen in the mushrooming of slums and informal settlements. The informal settlements provide unfavourable living conditions and are inadequately served with infrastructure and utilities such as water, electricity, and sanitation.

“The revision process of this critical policy was comprehensive and inclusive, involving amulti-sectoral, participatory approach. Extensive and intensive reviews of relevant information and data were conducted. Consultations with leaders, policymakers, and a broad spectrum of stakeholders from the national level and all 47 counties were integral to this process. Key Informant Interviews with policymakers and policy dialogues with representatives from the private sector, religious leaders, and youth leaders provided valuable insight” said the Cabinet Secretary.

The Kenya National Population Policy for Sustainable Development seeks to address seven broad areas:

  • Population Size, Growth, and Age Structure
  • Fertility
  • Morbidity and Mortality
  • Mobility, Migration, and Urbanization
  • Population, Human Settlement, Environment, and Disasters
  • Data, Research, and Innovation
  • Resource Mobilization

The policy aligns with Kenya’s Vision 2030, the Constitution of Kenya 2010, and various national and international aspirations and goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African Union Agenda 2063, and commitments from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

It builds on the progress made under previous policies, responding to the evolving socio-economic landscape and emerging population and development issues. Principal Secretary for Economic Planning Mr. James Muhatia, emphasized the importance of the policy noting:

“The Kenya National Population Policy for Sustainable Development is a crucial framework that will guide the development and implementation of population programs. It ensures policy coherence, leverages actions and resources, and anticipates actions based on evidence. This policy is a testament to our commitment to improving the quality of life for all Kenyans,” said Muhatia.

On his part Dr Mohamed Sheikh, the Director General of the National Co

uncil for Population and Development (NCPD) said that the implementation of the policy will be carried out at both national and county levels, utilizing a multi-sectoral approach.

“NCPD will spearhead the efforts, ensuring that all sectoral and inter-sectoral policies and programs are aligned towards achieving the policy’s objectives, noted Dr Sheikh.

Dr Rose Oronje country representative African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) applauded NCPD for launching the policy, a document that will guide the nation’s efforts for sustainable development.

“The collaboration between CSOs and the government has been instrumental in addressing the multifaceted challenges related to population and development and in strongly advocating for an inclusion of population dynamic effort towards sustainable development planning,” said Dr Oronje.

In addition, Dr Oronje noted that through the joint efforts with CSOs, they have enhanced access to family planning, improved maternal and child health and empowered communities with knowledge and resources to take and manage their resources at the community level and their families.

“We have also ignited a conversation between population dynamics and environment and Climate change. We have addressed the triple threat with HIV, teenage pregnancies, gender-based violence and other harmful practices that threaten progress when it comes to achieving sustainable development goals,” said Dr Oronje.

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