Yemen population reaches 60 million after four decades [Archives:2007/1064/Front Page]

July 2 2007

Bushera Al-Ansi
For Yemen Times

SANA'A, June 26 ) The representative of the United Nations Population Fund, Mr. Hans Obdeijn confirmed – during a meeting held in Sana'a when announcing the State of World Population (2007) – that rural woman can play a vital role in decreasing the growing population. He explained that Yemeni rural women, who form 72% of the women's population, are more subject to early marriage, which leads to fast population growth.

Obdeijn said that if rural women have a choice, they would not choose early marriage and would prefer family planning for the sake of their own safety.

The participants also assured the role of the media and mosque preachers to have intensive education and awareness to reduce the increased population growth through reproductive health, family planning and women education as well as enabling the Yemeni women to work.However, Mutahar Al-Abasi, the Deputy of Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, pointed out that rural women contribute to the work sector. The ratio is 78% without having wages and only 8% with wages.

The population growth in Yemen remarkably increased in the last years especially in Sana'a and Aden governorates. Reports indicate that the population of the capital city of Sana'a quadrupled in size form 428.000 to 1.748.000(an increase of 408%) in the last 18 years until 200. Aden almost doubled in size form 327.000 to 590.000 (an increase of 180%) in the last 16 years until 2004. It is growing at an ever increasing speed.

The report also estimated that at the current population growth rate of 3.1%, the population would reach 59.5 million by 2050.

“Where will they live, or perhaps more importantly, how will they live? Who will feed them and who will give them jobs?” a representative wondered.

The Fourth report of the United Nations Population Fund, titled “Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth” was discussed on Wednesday. The discussion took place in the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation with the participation of the Ministry of Health and Population along with the United Nations Population Fund.

The report estimated that 28% of the total population (22.3 million), live in cities with an urban growth rate of 4.6%. This tallies pretty much with the average for the Least Developing Countries.

The report also indicated that most urban growth in the world results from natural increase, rather than from migration.

The report stated their solution: “The only way to meet and defeat urban poverty is head-on: helping the poor find solutions to their own problems as well as to investing in their education and health. This includes education in reproductive health and voluntary family planning as well as giving priority to woman's empowerment. This will increase the health and well-being of families in addition to providing young people with basic services, because almost half of all urban dwellers are of this category.”