Zambia’s population of 17,426,623 (July 2020 est.) will double in 15 years time.
At the current population growth rate of 2.89 per cent (2020 est.) in 15 years Zambia will have not less than 34 million human beings to feed, house, educate and provide health services, water, sanitation and all the services required in an organised society to.
Despite having a very high death of 11.6 deaths per 1,000 population, a very high maternal mortality rate of 213 deaths per 100,000 live births (2017 est.) and infant mortality rate of 56 deaths per 1,000 live births and a low life expectancy of 53.6 years (2020 est.) our birth rate of 35.733 (2020 est.) is still high enough to give us a very high population growth rate of 2.89 per cent.
Rapid population growth at rates above 2 per cent acts as a brake on development. Up to a point, population growth can be accommodated. But the goal of development extends beyond accommodation of an ever larger population; it is to improve people’s lives.
This doubled population of Zambia in 15 years will need all these services a modern human being can’t do without – food, education, health, housing, water, sanitation, and so on and so forth. How are we going to provide these services at these very low economic growth rates we are experiencing?
What are our leaders doing to prepare our country and our people for this future that appears so sombre?
There’s need for our leaders and our people to realize that the Zambia of the future, of 15 years time, will not be built in the future, in 15 years time but on the threshold of what we do today.
The future is not built in the future; it is built on or by what we do today. I think that the future nation is the most important and most noble idea that a serious leader, a revolutionary can harbour.
Revolutionaries have always fought, struggled, worked for the future. Commander Nsingu, the old man Mpezeni – his father, and those 10,000 young Ngonis fought for the future. When Commander Nsingu was executed at dawn on February 5, 1898 by Cecil John Rhodes’ capitalist and imperialist forces he knew he was dying for the future. They were all fighting for the future.
To fight for the future, to struggle or work for the future does not mean to avoid doing everyday what must be done for the present. These two ideas must not be confused. It is possible for our country to devote a great part of its efforts to that struggle for the future.
The consequences of not struggling, working, planning for the Zambia of 15 years time will be disastrous. Hunger, riots, falling governments, and chaos are all potential consequences of ignoring the future.
If we don’t then we shouldn’t cry in 15 years that we didn’t see it coming. We are sitting on a time bomb!