AFP: Nigerian women embrace family planning ahead of population boom

This article first appeared in Agence France-Presse on Jan. 30, 2019.

Modupe Adegbite’s grandfather had 22 children, while her father had nine. At the age of just 19, she has decided she wants no more than four.

“Why do you have so many children if you cannot feed them?” she asked.

It’s a question many young Nigerians will face over the coming decades in Africa’s most populous country, where a booming population combined with poverty, record unemployment and roiling ethnic conflicts have some fearing a demographic “time-bomb”.

Nigeria’s population is expected to leap from 190 million today to 410 million by 2050 — and to almost twice that number again by the end of the century — according to the UN’s World Population Prospects.

That would mean that in just 30 years, Nigeria will be the world’s third most populous nation, behind only China and India.

For young women like Adegbite, who was born in Bada, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the economic capital Lagos, getting access to sex education and birth control can be difficult.

However Bada, which lacks electricity and paved roads, does have a family planning centre, which opened last year.

Condoms, the pill and hormonal implants are freely available at the local 9ja Girls centre, run by the US-based non-profit organisation Populations Services International.