Ban pleads for women’s rights to curb Sahel fertility

November 8, 2013 • Family Planning, Africa, News

Ban pleads for women’s rights to curb Sahel fertility

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pleaded Wednesday in Niger, the country with the world’s highest fertility rate, for better reproductive health to curb the Sahel region’s runaway demographic growth, AFP reports .

“Women should be able to demand their rights. But I also want men to join this call,” Ban said in Niamey, on an unprecedented regional tour with the leaders of five international organisations.

“Help us create families where mothers and fathers decide together how many children they want to have. The time to do this is now,” he said, at the launch of a $200-million regional initiative to improve women’s reproductive health and girls’ education.

“This call to action on women’s empowerment and demographics is not simply about numbers. It is about people. When women and girls have the tools to shape their own future, they will advance development for all.”

The fertility rate in Niger tops seven children per woman and more than two thirds of the population is under 24, exerting huge economic pressure on the impoverished, landlocked west African state.

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