World Population Day: Is Pakistan's high population growth a ticking time bomb?

Debt-ridden, food-insecure Pakistan to reach 400 million by 2050 as governments have failed in service delivery.

World Population Day: Is Pakistan's high population growth a ticking time bomb?

On this World Population Day, Nauraiz Rana, an economist at the World Bank, discusses Pakistan's pressing demographic challenge. With a population of 24.5 million and a high annual growth rate of 1.98%, Pakistan faces a potential crisis, unlike neighboring countries such as India and China.

Projections indicate that if unchecked, Pakistan could swell to 400 million by 2050, straining food security, water resources, and economic stability. Despite early recognition in the 1960s with the launch of family planning programs, Pakistan struggles with a high fertility rate of 3.47 children per woman. Limited contraception access leads to 52% of married women facing unintended pregnancies, with only 25% receiving adequate contraceptive care.

Since devolution, institutional fragmentation has hindered effective policy implementation. Urgent strategic interventions are needed, focusing on long-term investments in education, healthcare, gender equity, and infrastructure to sustainably manage demographic growth. Economic constraints and significant debt repayments pose bigger challenges to prompt action. To navigate these better, Nauraiz recommends solutions and partnerships with the private sector, drawing lessons from successful models like Bangladesh's collaborative approach. 

Ultimately, addressing Pakistan's population challenge requires more than just economic development - it demands social stability, sustainable growth, and urgent improvements in governance and service delivery.

Tune in for more.