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Africa fastest growing region for contraception use

News & Analysis

Africa fastest growing region for contraception use

New analysis shows better family planning can break the cycle of poverty, drive new economic growth, and improve the health of a country’s citizens.

A new report on family planning in the world’s 69 lowest-income countries has shown that contraception use is growing fastest in Africa, with 24% of women of reproductive age now using modern methods.

Across the 69 countries studied globally, more women and girls than ever before are making the voluntary choice to use contraception in their everyday lives. 

The report, entitled ‘FP2020: Catalyzing Collaboration’, was produced by Family Planning 2020 – a leading global partnership that supports women and girls to take control of their reproductive rights.

The report showed that contraception needs are being increasingly met across Africa, with Eastern and Southern Africa witnessing the most gains. Within this region 63% of demand for modern contraception was met in 2018, up from 54% in 2012.

The report also shows how better access to family planning can deliver a powerful ‘demographic dividend’ that can help transform economies, as birthrates drop and the ratio of adults to dependent children increases.

With fewer dependents to support, a country can invest more in education, infrastructure, and other productivity-enhancing measures.

“Family planning empowers women, and empowered women are economic dynamos: joining the labour force, starting their own businesses, and investing in their communities. This sparks a ripple effect that generates vast benefits across society, driving productivity, prosperity, and sustainability,” said Executive Director of Family Planning 2020, Beth Schlachter.

Among African countries, domestic government spending on family planning in 2016 was led by Ethiopia (US$21m), Kenya (US$19m), and Zimbabwe (US$18.1m).

Across the 69 lowest-income countries – including Latin America, the Middle East and Asia – the use of modern contraception prevented more than 119m unintended pregnancies, 20m unsafe abortions and 137,000 maternal deaths between July 2017 and July 2018.

Yet, while progress on key family planning outcomes has been impressive, there remains far more work to do, and an increasingly important role for cross-sectoral collaboration.

“Women represent half of the world population, and there can be no healthy population globally or in Africa without reproductive health care. As we continue to build the framework for Universal Health Coverage, we must ensure access to full, free and voluntary contraception is included for all women and girls,” finished Schlachter.

The FP2020: Catalyzing Collaboration was launched at the International Conference on Family Planning in Kigali, Rwanda.

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