By CHUSA SICHONE –
THE 2018-2030 National Population Policy (NPP) has projected Zambia’s population to hit 24 million, with a life expectancy increasing to 65 years in the next 12 years.
Zambia’s population currently stands at 16.9 million, while the life expectancy is at 54 years.
The policy was also targeting to reduce the urban population living in poverty from 23 percent to 15 per cent, while aiming to bring down rural poverty levels to 40 from 76.6 percent by 2030.
Demography consultant Namuunda Mutombo, who was engaged by the Ministry of National Development Planning, said this at the 2018-2030 NPP validation meeting in Lusaka yesterday.
The 2018-2030 NPP was also targeting to increase the population accessing safe drinking water from 65 to 100 per cent, reduce maternal mortality from 398 to 180 deaths per 100, 000 live births, increase the median age at first marriage from 18.7 to 22 years.
Dr Mutombo said the policy also sought to reduce the HIV prevalence rate from 13 to five per cent, increase the number of youths in formal employment from 11 to 50 percent and reduce Gender Inequality Index from 0.526 to 0.4, among other targets.
Dr Mutombo said the measures to achieve the set targets included establishing a strong multi-sectoral coordination team to ensure that the population dynamics were integrated in all sectoral planning and implementation processes and establishing a strong legal framework.
The other measures were to increase the quality and quantity of health and water supply and sanitation services to achieve the health and water supply and sanitation indicators as well as promote programmes to enhance participation of young people in the labour force.
United Nations Population Fund deputy country representative Chinwe Ogbonna commended the Ministry of National Development Planning for the vision and aspiration to revise the NPP and for partnering with the agency to formulate the document.
“We look forward to the fact that this Population Policy will be far-reaching, it will be ambitious because we are in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals, that is ambitious, that is interdependent and that is people-centred,” she said.
Ms Ogbonna said Zambians should not leave anyone behind and look at issues of inequality and marginalization.as they validated the 2013-2030 NPP.
The 2018-2030 policy was based on the realisation that Zambia’s population indicators were still below par despite the implementation of the 1989 and 2007 policies thus jeopardising the country’s aspiration of becoming a prosperous middle income nation by 2030.