Zimbabwe hosts International conference on population and development

by | Oct 9, 2023 | Business, Crime & Courts, Local News, Politics | 0 comments

Zimbabwe hosts International conference on population and development


Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa


President Emerson Mnangagwa, this afternoon officially opened the 20th International Inter-Ministerial Conference on South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Population and Development on the 30th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development in the resort town of Victoria Falls.


In his opening remarks, President Mnangagwa welcomed guests and thanked the Partners in Population and Development and the United Nations Population Fund for selecting Zimbabwe to be the host for the historic Conference. He also extended an invitation to them to visit the Victoria Falls and the various tourist attractions in Zimbabwe


Turning to the conference, he said the Government of Zimbabwe has made significant strides in implementing the goals of the International Conference on Population and Development.


President Mnangagwa said. “To-date, the total population of Zimbabwe has doubled from 7.6 million in 1982 to 15 million in 2022. This increase in the population growth rate is attributable to an overally improved quality of life. Additionally, the decline in HIV and AIDS-related mortality rates owing to the increased availability of Anti-Retroviral Treatment as well as reduced mother-to-child HIV transmission has had positive impacts.”


He also said that the fertility rate has steadily declined, life expectancy at birth has increased, noting that females have a higher life expectancy compared to their male counterparts, while life expectancy has risen to 65 years.


Zimbabwe’s national Maternal Mortality Ratio is on a decreasing trend, from 651 per 100 000 live births in 2015, to 362 per 100,000 live births, in 2022. The multi-pronged and people-centered national development agenda has registered progress on the social development front leading to improved Human Development Index rankings.


He said, government is scaling up the implementation and promotion of sustainable economic growth, employment, and wealth creation towards accelerating national development, modernisation and industrialisation.


“Guided by our National Vision and the National Development Strategy, our country is on course to achieve an upper middle-income society by 2030, while also addressing the continental and global aspirations under the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa Agenda 2063, respectively.”


President Mnangagwa spoke of the country’s robust policies that have resulted in sustained, inclusive and equitable GDP growth; promotion of new enterprise development, employment, and job creation as well as robust climate change mitigation and adaptation programs.


He added how existing social safety nets such as public health and education assistance, drought relief, public works and input support schemes for vulnerable families, small holder and communal farmers are being continuously broadened.


The introduction and wide adoption of Pfumvudza/Intwasa Climate Proofed Agriculture Programme, among other comprehensive policy initiatives, has seen the country realise national food and nutrition security.


He further said, “Leveraging on the increased access to quality and affordable education, our country is ensuring that high literacy rates translate to an enhanced quality of life of our people and the economy as a whole. Further, the introduction of our Heritage Based Education 5.0 Model is fast transforming, industrialising and modernising our economy. Our youth and learners are now equipped to produce goods and services.


He underscored the achievements of the country on gender equality and women empowerment, highlighting the constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination based on gender and outlawing all forms of Gender Based Violence and the establishment of the Gender Commission.


Turning to youth, he said it was important to adopt effective pathways for the holistic development and empowerment of youth seeing Zimbabwe has a 67.7% of the population is below the age of 35. He pointed to the parliamentary quota and Cabinet appointments and within other strategic national institutions as Government commitment to their development.


He said, “Education and skills development are indispensable for the sustainability of youth participation in the economy and governance sphere. As such, we continue to invest in Vocational Training Centres and skills development programmes which equip trainees with entrepreneurial skills.”

“Meanwhile, age responsive information on reproductive health continues to be availed to the youth and adolescences. The criminalization of early and forced child marriages and other harmful practices is facilitating the safe transition of children into adulthood.”


President Mnangagwa said, Government of Zimbabwe established a multi-sectoral National Taskforce which periodically meets to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Programme of Action for seamless coordination to scale up South-South and Triangular Cooperation.


He highlighted how the country has managed to fill gaps in health service provision via specialists who visit from countries like the People’s Republic of China and Cuba. He also thanked the Partners in Population and Development who have provided fellowships and capacity-building programmes that have resulted in members of Zimbabwe’s health workforce attaining specialised postgraduate qualifications.


Zimbabwe remains committed to Universal Health Coverage and continues to adhere to the Family Planning 2030 Commitments and the Compact of Commitment with regard to the provision of technical and financial resources for the family planning programmes. This has resulted in the domestic funding, for Family Planning, rising within the national health budget, from 1.7% in 2013 to 2.4% in 2022. The national health budget allocation was at 14.9% in 2022, in line with the 15% aspiration outlined in the Abuja Declaration.


He however highlighted that the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by some Western countries continue to hamper further development in the health and childcare sector as well as other sectors.


“Meanwhile, our government’s investment in the training of doctors, nurses, laboratory scientists and radiographers is being negatively affected by the attrition of Health Workers due to increased emigration to developed countries.”


“As, I conclude may I reiterate the need to scale up the provision of maternal health and reduction of child mortality as a vital aspect of the attainment of sustainable development. The mantra “No woman should die whilst giving birth” remains our guiding motto. Further, let us consolidate our engagement and partnerships within the South-South and Triangular Cooperation framework to unlock more resources for our respective national development plans towards a prosperous and healthy life for all. Domestic financing and innovative interventions that promote gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women, remains critical.”

“Ultimately, the burden and responsibility to realise development that leaves no one and no place behind, within our respective countries is on us. Collectively, we must deliver.”