The Faculty of Information, Cairo University, organized a scientific forum to discuss the population issue in Egypt under the title “The Population Issue and Development Challenges”, under the patronage of Dr. Mohamed Othman El-Khasht, President of Cairo University, Dr. Howaida Mostafa, Dean of the Faculty, and supervised by Dr. Hanan Junaid, Vice Dean for Community Service Affairs.
At the start of the opening of the electronic webinar activities, Dr. Howaida Mostafa, Dean of the College of Media, gave a speech in which she explained that addressing the population issue in Egypt is a key focus for maximizing the efforts and challenges of sustainable development in light of Egypt’s 2030 strategy, noting that no matter how much attention and praise are focused on Egypt’s economic successes in growth And revenues these days, if the population exceeds the threshold of 100 million people, the concerned parties must raise the alarm bells because of the disastrous consequences of that on these successes.
The Dean of the College of Media noted that a few days ago, the Egyptian Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the population of Egypt had officially exceeded 100 million, and four years ago the number was still around 90 million, which means that the fertility rate is still around 3 percent and that the population increase has reached 2, 5 million people annually, noting that the news of the population exceeding the threshold of one hundred million was briefly reported by news agencies, and it requires decision-makers and those who are concerned to bring about profound structural transformations and diversify the sources of the economy.
Dr. Howaida Mustafa said, according to a statement issued by the college, that the efforts and fruits of economic reforms, which include economic growth rates exceeding 5.5 percent annually, increasing foreign currency reserves and implementing huge infrastructure projects, are greatly limited by the crisis of the exacerbation of population growth that devours all these achievements. .
In her speech, Dr. Hanan Junaid, Vice Dean of the College of Information for Community Service and Environmental Development, said that the population increase necessitates the need to address due to its serious impact on the quality of the educational system and its impact on the labor market that needs to absorb young competencies and pushes the economy to further growth, noting that research centers and experts They explain that economic growth should be three times the rate of population growth in order to be able to create the jobs needed for the new generation, and what this means is that the rate of population growth between 2.5 to 3 percent annually in Egypt needs an economic growth rate of 7.5 to 9 Percent annually to control this situation.
The Vice Dean of the College of Information noted that Egypt’s problem with population growth is not limited to devouring the fruits of development, but also in causing this increase to erode agricultural lands and limited water resources, explaining that these lands constitute only 5 percent of the country’s area on both sides of the Nile River, which It constitutes the near-only source of water, noting that the experiences of the past five decades have shown that as the population increases, urbanization takes place at the expense of the remaining agricultural lands that, until the 1960s, produced more than the Egyptians’ need of foodstuffs.
During his participation, Dr. Muhammad Salman, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Political Science for Community Service and Environmental Development, said that the demographic problem and its repercussions mean the existence of a reciprocal relationship with a number of problems, such as poverty, unemployment and the low level of services, as well as their negative repercussions on foreign trade, the state budget, savings and investment rates, pointing to The population increase in Egypt led to an increase in its imports of wheat by about 3 billion pounds, and it reached more than 12.2 billion in 2010, with an increase of 75.4%, which represents 8.29% of the deficit in the trade balance during the same period, despite the expansion of the land area. Cultivated with wheat and increasing the yield of wheat produced, as the land cultivated with wheat in 2002 reached about 2,450,000 feddans, and it reached 3066,000 feddans in 2010, with an average increase in production of 69,000 tons per year during the same period, which is a slight increase compared to the increase in population.
Dr. Salman noted that the number of students in pre-university education was about 8.9 million in 2002/2003, and in 2010/2011 the number reached more than 16.8 million students, with an increase rate of 47.18%, which required an increase in the number of schools to accommodate this increase from 32.9 A thousand schools reached 40.3 thousand schools during the same period, which was reflected in the volume of spending on pre-university education, which amounted to about 14.6 billion pounds in 2002/2003, and reached 40.9 billion in 2010/2011, an increase of 64.28%, explaining that the population increase Leading to high dependency rates, and hence a decrease in the saving and investment rate. The saving rate in Egypt in 2015 reached 5.9% and during the 2010/2014 period did not exceed 11.3%, which is relatively small when compared to other countries such as Brazil, where the Saving to 30%.
The Undersecretary for Economics and Political Science touched on the economic dimension of the population crisis, explaining that any economic system depends on four factors that are formed between them in order to create the products that society needs, namely: labor, natural resources, capital, and organization, and throughout the greater part of The history of mankind was the element of work playing a prominent role in creating the goods and services needed by society, indicating that the increasing dependence throughout that period on the element of work in the production process – formed values that favor childbearing and numerical abundance, especially in conditions in which poverty and the spread of epidemics ensured by reducing birth rates. And then in a decrease in the supply of labor force, and with the development of technology and the development of science, the increase in human dependence on modern technologies, death rates decreased due to the tremendous progress that has occurred in health care methods, and there has been a radical transformation in the arts of production as a result of technical development, and machines have replaced human efforts. This led to an increase in the birth rate in exchange for a decrease in the number of deaths and exacerbated the population crisis.
Dr. Salwa Al-Awadly, Vice-Dean of the College of Media for Education and Student Affairs, expressed her great happiness with her participation in the Ubinar, explaining that the College of Information shed light on the current topic of the day, which is “the population crisis”, referring to her previous participation in a research related to the acceptability and effectiveness of birth control initiatives in villages. Al-Masrya, pointing out that the crisis revealed by an interview with a number of housewives that they link between birth control and the wrongly understood religious dimension that religion rejects those initiatives that seek to regulate birth control, noting that the role of religious awareness related to the idea of birth control should keep pace with the role of awareness-raising.
During his participation, Dr. Farag Al-Kamel, Professor of Radio and Television at the Faculty of Mass Communication, Cairo University, indicated that on February 11, the population clock of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics was announced, with the number of Egyptians inside reaching 100 million, and that on October 3 of the same year the number of Egyptians reached 101 A million people, explaining that Egypt is the largest Arab country, the third largest in Africa, and the fourteenth largest in the world in terms of population.
During his presentation of the development of population numbers over the past five decades, the radio and television professor explained that about 2.3 births are born in Egypt annually, and that the population growth rate in Egypt is 4 times higher than in developed countries, and that in order for citizens to feel the fruits of economic growth, the rate of population growth must be controlled. ” He pointed out that the population problem is four-dimensional, and went on to say that the first problem is accelerated and uncontrolled population growth, the second is the decline in population characteristics such as poverty, dropout from education and unemployment, and the third is the presence of Egyptians on 7.7% of the area of Egypt, which is what the Egyptian state paid attention to and launched a large number Among the housing projects in new cities, the most prominent of which is the Administrative Capital, and the last is the disparity between people.
Dr. Al-Kamil pointed out that the problem of overpopulation is reflected in several other files, including the decline of the per capita share of water to more than 50 percent during the past fifty years, warning that it may decline more and more with the continued increase in population and the construction of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the river and the possibility of states Others, by building similar projects, and the absence of an educational and applied system that produces competencies capable of creativity in new products, technologies and knowledge, and the sizing of state resources and directing them in favor of investing in education despite its vital importance.
In his intervention, Dr. Ali Ajwa, the former dean of the Faculty of Mass Communication at Cairo University, explained that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and his government undertook deep and bold economic reforms that won international praise, noting that these efforts are being blown by the wind – as he put it – due to the exacerbation of the high fertility rate, noting that The need to move towards activating the spread of initiatives for the birth of one or two children per woman, instead of three to five children per woman.
The professor in the Public Relations Department explained that the fertility control plans of one to two children per family have not succeeded only in China, but even in Islamic countries such as Malaysia, and that the absence of this success in Egypt does not mean underestimating the importance of family planning campaigns and programs that have been in place since Decades similar to the current campaign aiming at only two children under the title “2 is enough”, he said, indicating that this importance indicates the reduction of the fertility rate from 3.4 percent to about 3 percent during the past four years, that is, to what it was before the revolution. January 25, 2011, and that regardless of the difficulty of achieving further reductions, especially in the countryside and in a conservative society that is mostly Muslim, any sustainable economic growth cannot be guaranteed at such a rate, according to his description.
During her participation, Dr. Maggie Halawani, a professor in the Department of Radio and Television, expressed that the role of some state and media institutions is not sufficient to achieve the current campaign goal of reducing the fertility rate to two children per woman. What is required here is also a national campaign that also includes activating the role of civil society institutions, mosques, churches, education and the rest of the media more in the process of raising awareness of the dangers of population growth in this way and providing the necessary incentives for them in this regard. Female employees in general give birth to fewer children and give more importance to the education of their children compared to women who You just do housework.
During her participation, Dr. Al-Halawani discussed what the concept of the population problem refers to in terms of imbalance between the population on the one hand, and the size of natural and capital resources and technical knowledge on the other hand, and pointed out that the population is seen as a productive force and a means to exploit resources, as well as they are also a consumer force that exerts pressure on Available resources, and then the imbalance between population and the size of resources leads to the existence of what is known as the “population problem,” explaining that the population problem in the previous sense is not represented by an increase in population relative to the volume of resources “overpopulation”, but may also be represented by an increase in natural resources. With regard to the population, “lightness of population”, as is the case in the oil-producing Gulf countries, which suffer from a shortage of manpower and depend on the foreign labor component.
The professor of radio and television mentioned that the indications of interest in the population problem in Egypt reached a number of thinkers and researchers in the period of the thirties, as some researchers interested in tracking population development revealed that 1936 witnessed part of the population problem in Egypt, and the following year (1937) witnessed an important activity about dealing with The demographic problem and several actions appeared in the demographic field, in addition to the issuance of the first fatwa by Sheikh Abdel Majid Salim, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, permitting the use of birth control methods, explaining that religious awareness comes on top of the priorities in addition to the role of the media to raise awareness of the seriousness of the overpopulation crisis.
Dr. Nagwa Kamel, a professor in the press department, reviewed the historical dimension of the population problem, explaining that despite the ancient interest in the population problem, it did not gain official recognition from the state until the early sixties. Before the sixties, Abdel Nasser rejected the idea of family planning. Therefore, he did not take any measures or policies related to the population problem, and he always emphasized the axis of development as a solution to raise the standard of living and overcome the problem of population growth, noting that the absence of population policies and the state’s failure to recognize the existence of the problem during that period is due to the state’s dependence at the time on the development approach as a solution. The population problem and the philosophy of socialism, which does not see the increase in population as a problem, and confines it to the poor distribution of wealth.
The professor of the press department dealt with explaining that the transformations that took place in the seventies, the economic openness and the multiparty system, were heralds of economic prosperity, with which it was not possible to talk about the population increase and its impact on the economic aspects, which was reflected in President Sadat’s stance on the population problem, as the state ignored that. The period to address population growth, and sought to solve the problem by relying on the axis of development, constructing new cities and relieving pressure on Cairo. President Sadat intended to make “Sadat City” a new administrative capital, and despite Sadat’s speech being free from dealing with the problem of overpopulation, only the government’s interest and plans The five-year problem of population growth was an implicit expression of the recognition of the existence of the problem.
In her speech to talk about the reasons for the continuation of the current population crisis, Dr. Leila Abdel-Majid, Professor of Journalism at the Faculty of Mass Communication, Cairo University, said that the persistence of productive conditions for high fertility rates in the countryside with the low level of services and the low standard of living in it compared to urban areas, pushed the rural population to migrate to urban areas in search The share of better fortune and a more luxurious life in it, which has resulted in the overcrowding of major cities, pressure on available services, worsening unemployment, housing and transportation crisis, low standard of living and health care in them, in addition to the agricultural production being affected by that migration and the state incurring costs and burdens to face the repercussions of that. All are aspects that give the population problem its meaning and its content.
She drew the journalism professor to the necessity of activating the benchmarks and forming a joint committee to solve the population crisis. In order to follow up and coordinate the implementation of awareness-raising initiatives against the overpopulation that is devouring the national projects, including the “Decent Life” initiative at the governorate level, noting the need to conduct studies on families and their needs, noting that there are periodic data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics on income ratios And births, and linking these data and statistics to each other, stressing at the same time the need to educate citizens and launch an awareness campaign in those villages about the “2 enough” program for family planning, and the need to direct a decent life initiative towards priorities and improve the standard of living for the Egyptian citizen, and address the problem of poverty.