Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has stressed the need for Africa to resourcefully manage its population in a way the continent’s numerical strength can be a blessing and not burden.
In his contribution during a seminar titled “Higher Education and Demographic Growth in Africa” at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, UK, on Thursday, the governor said population explosion in Africa was a reality and that despite the fast growing population rate, the continent was lagging behind in education.
“It seems we are comfortable with the population of Africa; that Africa will be highly populated and that would be an asset, and therefore we would conquer the world.
“One important factor that divides the population of the world into two is education, whether the population will be an asset, depends on education, whether it will be a liability also depends on education,” Ganduje said.
“The 10 most literate countries in Africa; Seychelles, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Sao Tome, Libya, Namibia, Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe — we all know that these are small countries.”
The governor said the continent needs to map out strategies to improve infrastructure for its people, and to efficiently manage population growth.
“The population of students in Kano state now is over three million; the population of those outside the school system is also over three million. So if we are talking about Africa, we can confidently say the level of literacy is inversely proportional to population. Are we safe?’’, he queried.
“The way our discussion is going on, it seem that we are working on the assumption that literacy level will be directly proportional to literacy level. So, I think we better examine these issues very, very seriously.
“We said Britain has maintained a level of population for over how many years, and Nigeria, it is going further, and Africa, it is going further’’, the governor stated, lamenting that Nigeria’s week economy was not helping matters.
“Since the economy is weak, we will work on the infrastructural facilities no doubt, but we also have to control the other side. Otherwise, what is the meeting point?
According to Dr. Ganduje, “As we are now, we are complaining of lack of funds in other to improve the quality of education in Africa, and we have seen that the population will continue to increase, and we have not seen how our economy will continue to blossom, so I think we should examine the issue of population control in Africa.”