Africa’s secret weapon for economic growth and global development

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

As global headwinds for growth and global development gather strength, an unexpected force is emerging with the power to reignite momentum on both fronts right across the African continent.

That force is family planning: ensuring the rights of women and girls everywhere to decide – freely and for themselves – whether, when and how many children they want to have.

Ironically, as political pushback against family planning and women’s rights has accelerated in some countries, this force – along with the dedicated efforts of the global family planning sector – is shining a new light on the power of rights-based family planning.

That power was recognized clearly when countries around the world signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015.  SDGs 3 and 5 enshrined family planning and women’s health as a key global priority.  However, for the most part, the global discussion around family planning has taken place in the health arena.

Evidence shows that family planning is essential to lower maternal and infant mortality.  Although both have decreased in the past decades, still today over 300,000 women and girls die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications, including unsafe abortions. If all women and girls with an unmet need for family planning were able to use the contraceptive of their choice, 29% of maternal deaths would be prevented.

Photo courtesy of Jenny Lee Silver.

Source: Ventures Africa (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
global development, public policy