The world’s population has tripled within the last 70 years. In 1950, there were roughly 2.5 billion people. By November 15, 2022, the United Nations reported an epic milestone: 8 billion souls. To make it clearer, in 1969 the year that I was born, our population was about 10 million, today we have about 53.1 million Kenyans. What implications does this hold globally? And, more crucially, what does it signify for Kenya? Two key points emerge.
Firstly, we should continuously express gratitude for the gift of life. Despite childbirth appearing commonplace, it’s an extraordinary occurrence we must thank God for. This perspective becomes clearer when considering the World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimate that 1 in 6 individuals globally struggle with infertility.
Secondly, the necessity to prepare for this booming population is pressing. Most politicians, often preoccupied with short election cycles, emphasize immediate concerns at the expense of pressing long-term necessities. Such shortsightedness must end.
The future beckons responsibility. Parents should be wholly accountable for their offspring, and in parallel, our Kenyan Government must remain committed to its citizenry, upholding all constitutional rights. Notably, Article 53 of our constitution ensures every child enjoys rights including free, compulsory education, and access to basic nutrition, shelter, and healthcare.
Fulfilling these fundamental rights requires financial commitment. To illustrate, the Ministry of Education allocated Sh89.4 billion for primary, junior, and secondary school education in the Financial Year 2022/2023.
Given projections estimating Kenya’s population to surge to 60 million by 2030, proactive preparations are essential. From accommodating increasing school enrollments to managing the influx of college graduates — are our educational facilities sufficient? Can we maintain an optimal Pupil-Teacher Ratio of 40:1? The same applies to many other sectors.
Moreover, population growth invariably leads to urban expansion. As per UN Habitat forecasts, by 2030, half of Kenyans will reside in urban locales. Such predictions necessitate urban infrastructure development in tandem with this growth, especially in sectors like water and housing. Notably, cities like Nairobi and Mombasa are already grappling with these challenges. Hence, it is of utmost importance that transformative initiatives, like President Ruto’s affordable housing project, garner unwavering support. On his part, it would be prudent for the president to ensure this program stands as a beacon of integrity, especially given the Kenyan populace’s six decades of standing grievances with recurrent corruption.
Further, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has recently unveiled our economic performance, highlighting a modest surge in certain domains, notably the agricultural sector. However, the manufacturing sector, alarmingly, has witnessed a decline. Given our mushrooming population, deliberately listening, and strengthening issues consistently raised by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) is imperative to rejuvenate our faltering economy. It is this very data that should ignite a fervent call to action among all stakeholders, compelling them to invest their utmost efforts with a long-term vision in mind.