The Lead Consultant, Population Secretariat, in the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Robert T. Moikowa, on Friday 6th September 2019 told this medium that the recently launched National Population Policy is designed to improve the quality of life for the people of Sierra Leone by ensuring that the sustainable management of population growth is in line with the country’s economic growth, poverty reduction and available resources.
He underscored that improved reproductive health, a rapid decline in fertility and the subsequent shift in population age structure would help the country harness the demographic dividend that is needed to accelerate sustainable economic growth and development.
Dr. Robert T. Moikowa also articulated that there is a strong conviction among the political leadership that effective management of the population would give Sierra Leone a real opportunity to pursue sustainable economic growth although however pointing out that progress is strongly predicated on whether effective population planning and management is backed by the right social and economic investments, as well as the formulation of progressive policies in health, education, governance and the economy.
According to the Lead Consultant, the National Population Policy aims to achieve this vision by addressing population dynamics with an effective response to the needs and aspirations of the expanding youth population, enhancing the reproductive health and rights for all Sierra Leoneans at every stage of the life cycle, accelerating human capital development in line with projected population growth and strengthening the national capacity of relevant institutions for evidence-based population planning and management, underscoring that these efforts are aligned with Sierra Leone’s National Development Plan as well as international development instruments such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union Agenda 2063 and the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action.
He furthered that the National Population Policy document highlights the rationale for a population policy by examining the historical context and available population data, and guarantee that the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development is committed to monitoring the policy on an annual basis as well as evaluating it every five years.
He went on to disclose that to ensure accountability, clear policy targets and quantifiable indicators are identified in line with the policy’s four policy objectives, underlining that serious consideration is given to the implementation phase, with clear roles and responsibilities articulated for a variety of actors, adding that successful implementation requires the active involvement of both public and private sector actors across the country.
On the objectives of the policy, he highlighted that it is to address the issues of reproductive health and rights, manage the expanding youth population, address adolescent pregnancy, contribute to education for all and keep cities safe, stressing that the policy also recognizes and takes into consideration emerging and continuing population concerns and development agendas, both international and national.
“In line with the commitment of the Government of Sierra Leone to enhance the welfare of every citizen and eradicate poverty through the promotion of sustainable development, it is hoped that the policy would be given wide publicity and that all Sierra Leoneans, especially civil society organizations and local authorities, will find their own special way to contribute to the successful implementation of the policy for the benefit of all,” Dr. Robert T. Moikowa concluded.