Nigeria May Become 3rd Most Populous Nation, Says UN Chief

Nigeria could be the world’s third most populous nation by 2100, with 700 million people, American economist Jeffrey Sachs has said.

The American economist famous for such books as The End of Poverty, currently serving as special adviser to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, said a three-child policy is needed to contain the population explosion.

Ban visited Nigeria last week and Sachs commented on Nigeria’s population growth.

The report said Nigeria’s population currently stands at around 160 million, adding that some estimates project that Nigeria could have over 700 million people by 2100, placing it third in population behind China and India.

Proferring a solution, Sachs said, “I am really scared about population explosion in Nigeria. It is not healthy. Nigeria should work towards attaining a maximum of three children per family,” Sachs said on the margins of a presidential interactive meeting with key members of the business community.

He told the meeting earlier that an increased annual economic growth rate from the current seven percent, encouragement of integrated development in economy, agriculture, urban and rural sectors, provision of a good health system, education, power, railway, could see the country become one of the most important economies in the 21st century.

But a Nigerian family planning expert Isaac Ogo who said the three child proposal was not feasible. He pointed to the tradition of polygamy and the belief that the children were seen as a “gift from God” in a male-dominated society. Mr Ogo, from the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria, agrees with the goal but says it will be hard to change the views of many Nigerians.

He says Nigeria is a “high birth, high death” society where many people think: “I need to have as much children as I want, as I don’t know which will survive.”