Reducing high population growth was at the top of the international development agenda in the 1960s and 1970s. As a result, successful population programmes were implemented in Asia and Latin America and population growth fell from about 2.5 per cent per year in the 1960s to 1.2 per cent today. By contrast, benign neglect from African leaders and elites translated into late, weak and ineffective programmes and the population growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa has remained about 2.5 per cent per year over the past half century, except in southern Africa.
In part because of the success of the Asian and Latin American programmes, international attention has shifted to other urgent issues, such as the HIV/Aids epidemic, humanitarian crises and good governance. Recent concerns about climate change have further overshadowed the demographic dimensions of African development.
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