Demography and National Security in Niger Republic: Issues and Prospect

Demography and National Security in Niger Republic: Issues and Prospect

Demography and National Security in Niger Republic: Issues and Prospect BY Ob?¤l DEMOGRAPHY AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGER REPUBLIC: ISSUES AND PROSPECTS INTRODUCTION 1 . The ultimate aim of governments worldwide is to achieve sustainable improvement in the quality of life and well-being of the citizens. Before this can be achieved, the government must have an adequate demographic statistics of the citizens for an improved National Security (NS). Demography underpins every segment of development, it shows if a countrys resources can sustain its growing population, or not.

The world’s population between 1970 and 2012, rose from about 3. billion to about 7 billion with about a 90 per cent increase and growth rate of about 1. 096 per cent. l This growth rate results in about 145 net additions to the worldwide population every minute or about 2. 4 every second. 2 It was estimated in 2012 that the average Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of developed countries is at about 1. 6 per cent while that of the less developed countries is at about 2. 9 per cent. 3 This was as a result of demographic change. 2. India which is the second most populous country in the world has over 1. 21 billion people and occupies about 2. per cent of the orld’s land area supporting over 17. 5 per cent of the world’s population. In addition, about 72. 2 per cent of the population lives in about 638,000 villages with the remaining 27. 8 per cent living in more than 5,100 towns and over 380 urban settlements. 4 India has more than 50 per cent of her population below the age of 25 and more than 65 per cent below the age of 35 with an annual growth rate of about 1. 312 per cent and TFR of about 2. 72 per cent in 2012. 5 The country is projected to be the world’s most populous country by 2025, surpassing China, with its population reaching 1. billion by 2050. If this demographic growth is not curtailed it will impact negatively on the NS of the country. 3. Nigeria which is the most populous country in Africa accounts for approximately one fifth of Sub-Saharan African population. Approximately 50 percent of Nigerians are urban dwellers with about 24 cities having population of more than 100,000 persons and a current population of about 170 million in 2012. 7 The annual growth rate of Nigeria is about 2 per cent and TFR of about 5. 53 per cent and the country is estimated to have a projected population of about 289 million people by 2050. Nigeria’s fertility rate between 1950 nd 2012 has been 5 to 8 children and tend to slow down to between 2 to 3 children per woman in 2050. 9 Without any intervention in the status quo, Nigeria is heading towards a population blowout with the current reproduction rates thus could threatening the NS of the country in the face of low level of development in terms of poverty, unemployment among others confronting Nigeria. 4. Niger with an estimated population of about 15. 9 million and an annual growth rate of about 3. 3 per cent has high TFR rate of 7. 2 which is about 8 children per woman on average making it the highest in the world. 0 It was estimated by Institute for National Statistics (INS) that if this growth continues, there will be 56 million people living in most populated country in West Africa. 11 This demographic change if not curtailed would affect the NS of Niger in the face of the countrys inadequate social facilities. 5. The purpose of this paper therefore, is to discuss the effect of demography on NS in Niger. The paper will conceptualise the key variables and give an overview of demography and NS in Niger.

It will further identify issues, effects, challenges and prospects of demography and NS in Niger. Thereafter, it will proffer strategies with hich demography would enhance NS in Niger. The study shall cover the period 2000 to 2012, being the period during which demographic change became of vital interest to the Government of Niger. AIM 6. The aim of this paper is to discuss the effect of demography on Niger’s NS with a view to making recommendations. CONCEPTUAL DEFINITIONS 7. This section undertakes the conceptual definitions of the 2 key variables in the study and establishes the relationship between them.

These variables are demography and NS being the independent and dependent variables respectively. 8. Demography. Thomson defines demography as the study of human populations, heir size, composition and distribution across place and the process through which populations change. 12 This definition focuses mainly on population change and therefore not adopted. On the other hand, Jason sees demography as the study of both quantitative and qualitative aspects of human population. 13 Quantitative aspects include composition, density, distribution, growth, movement, size, and structure of the population.

Qualitative aspects are the sociological factors such as education quality, crime, development, nutrition, race, social class, wealth and well being of the citizens. 4 This definition contains all the essential ingredients of demography and therefore adopted for the study. 9. National Security. Onuoha defines NS as the capacity of a state to promote the pursuit and realization of the fundamental needs and vital interests of its citizens and society, and protect such from threats which may be economic, social, political or military. 5 This definition relates national security to threats to the nation and is therefore not suitable for this paper. On the other hand, Mbachu defines national security as a nation’s ability by whatever means to create a conducive, domestic and external environment that nsures political, economic and social well-being of the nation and its people. 16 This definition covers the human and physical attributes of national security. It is therefore adopted for this paper. 10. Relationship between Demography and National Security.

Demography is both quantitative and qualitative aspects of human population. The quantitative aspects which bring about the measurement of growth, movement, size, structure of the population amongst others while the qualitative aspects are the sociological factors such as education quality, crime, development, wealth and well being of the citizens. On the other hand, NS is the ability of a nation to create conducive environment for ensuring the well-being of its citizens. Demography brings about the measurement of the well-being of the citizens which is the main aim of NS.

It can therefore be deduce that there exist a direct relationship between demography and NS. OVERVIEW OF DEMOGRAPHY ON NIGER’S NATIONAL SECURITY the territory was about 1. 075 million inhabitants. 17 Besides a few subsequent irregular administrative censuses o f varying quality, no reliable estimate o f the Nigerien demographic status was available before the countrys Independence in 960. At that time, surveys put the population at 3, 250,000 inhabitants with a Population aged 15-64 to 49. 6 per cent as depicted in Appendix 1.

The Appendix shows that the proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2012 was 50. 1 per cent, 55. 2 per cent was between 15 and 2. 4 per cent were between 65 years and above. 12. The rapid increase in Niger’s population can be explained primarily by very high fertility levels coupled with decreasing mortality rates since the end of World War 1 1, although deteriorating health services seem to have slowed or even halted the mortality decline during the 1990s. The most recent total fertility rate indicated by the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) for 1993-98, is 7. children per woman. The United Nations Population Division estimated that Niger’s total fertility rate reached 8 children per woman in 2000-2012, making it the highest in the world. High fertility rates have also contributed to a younger age structure. With close to 50 percent of its population under the age of 15, and about 70 percent younger than 25, making Niger to have one of the youngest populations in the world. Such a young population, combined with high fertility, leads to a high birthrate and spiraling emographic growth as shown in Appendix 2.

This has raised some issues which include education, land usage and family planning. ISSUES OF DEMOGRAPHY AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGER 13. The issues of demography and NS in Niger include education, land usage and family planning. These are discussed subsequently. 14. Education. Education has been a major concern for the government of Niger in the last decade. For instance, about 49 per cent of the Nigerien population is under the age of 15 with a low school attendance of about 38 per cent for males and 27 per cent for females in 2012. 8 In 011, only 15 per cent of Nigerien women and about 20 percent of the population had primary education, with about 5 per cent completing the basic primary education. 19 By 2050, the school-age population will be 8 times as large as it is today, yet the share of the government’s general budget going to education has fallen over the last decade, from 15 per cent to less than 10 per cent. 20 This has made the larger population to be uneducated. Education therefore remains an issue of demography for an improved NS in Niger. 15. Land Usage.

The durable land to support the growth in food production has been a major concern in Niger in the last ecade. In the past 3 decades the amount suitable soil for rain-fed agriculture has actually been reduced by half, (due to want) while the countrys population has increased threefold. 21 For instance, the southern part of the country, where the climate is more hospitable for agricultural activities, is the most populated. 22 This demographic growth in these regions which often results into herdsmen and famers conflict and dividing up agricultural parcels, has reduced the size of fertile soil.

This is because the land is overused thus resulting to malnutrition, poverty and low food production which has adverse effect on NS of the country. Land usage is therefore an issue in demography for improved NS in Niger. 16. Family Planning. Family planning in Niger is low resulting to high TFR rate in the country. Low level of family rate in Niger. According to the NDHS, the contraceptive prevalence rate for Niger was 20. 62 percent for any method and 1 1. 7 percent for modern methods in 2012. 3 This scenario is largely due a culture that is highly supportive of large family size, misconceptions about family planning methods, and male child preference. Other major factors include inadequate access to family planning services and poor quality f services, thus constituting an issue in demography and NS in Niger. Despite these issues, the study uncovered, there are some effects of demography and NS in Niger. EFFECTS OF DEMOGRAPHY AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGER 17. The effects of demography and NS in Niger would be positive or negative.

However, this study identified how demography has negative effects on health, employment and youthful work force. 18. Health. Health care system of Niger suffers from a chronic lack of resources and a small number of health providers relative to the growing population. There are 4 government hospitals in Niamey and ther large cities, with smaller medical clinics in most towns. 24 Despite this, some medicines are in short supply or unavailable albeit 377 Physicians in 2012, a ratio of 0. 05 per cent 10,000 populations. 25 This was as a result of demographic change occasioned by high TFR rate, thus having a negative effect on NS of Niger. 9. Employment. The very high population growth at over 3 per cent, one of the highest in the world, is a further burden for public expenditure and the Nigerien society as a whole. There are no official unemployment statistics, but the majority of he population is either unemployed or underemployed. The situation is particularly desperate among young males given the high birth rate. Demography has however negatively affected the employment generation as a result of a young population thus making the rest unemployed engaged in criminal activities and rebellion against the Government as depicted in Appendix 3.

The Appendix gives an overview of rebellion in Niger Republic. Demography thus has a negative effect on employment thus affecting the NS of Niger. 20. Migration of Youthful Work Force. The youthful work force is the strength of any nation. However, in Niger the country suffers from migration of workable youths for better means of livelihood outside the country as a result of growing population rate and fear to secure a better Job in the country. This has resulted the youth work force to drop with about 20. 3 per cent in 2012. 26 Demography has negative effect on the youthful work force to enhance NS of Niger.

The study also identified some challenges militating against demography and NS in Niger. CHALLENGES MILITATING AGAINST DEMOGRAPHY AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGER 21 . The challenges militating against demography and NS in Niger include low ducated population, food insecurity for the growing population and poor access to family planning services. These are discussed below. 22. Low Educated Population. The rapid pace of demographic growth poses tremendous challenges for the universal enrollment of pupils, even at the primary level of education.

For instance, it is expected that new admissions at the Cours d’initiation (the first year of the primary school), rose from 360, 000 in 2000 to 500, 000 in 2012, and will increase to 800, 000Mby 2020 and more than 3 million by 2050. 27 These children are estimated at ill add huge numbers of pupils to a system that is already stretched to its limits. Thus, inadequate population education poses a serious challenge to demography and NS in Niger. 23. Food Insecurity for the Growing Population. Growing enough food to feed the Nigerien population has been a challenge for several decades.

The countrys population and its food needs double every 20 years as the soil suitable for rain-fed agriculture has been over used. The population has ballooned from around 2. 5 million in 1950 to about 16 million in 2012 and is estimated to exceed more than 53 million in 2050, amounting to a twentyfold increase in one century. 9 Thus, food insecurity for the growing population of Niger is a major challenge for demography and NS in the country. 24. Poor Access to Family Planning Services. Poor access to family planning services is still low in Niger despite the efforts of the Government.

In 2012 it was estimated that 43. 67 per cent of the urban and 33. 33 per cent rural settlements had access to family planning services. 30 Despite considerable progress in providing expanded reproductive health services in recent years, contraceptive prevalence remains low as a result of overcrowded and inadequate clinics, sporadic ontraceptive shortages, poor transportation links, high female illiteracy, male attitudes, opposition from some Muslim groups and the difficulty of accessing some Muslim women in their homes. Inadequate access to family planning services poses a challenge to demography and NS in Niger.

Despite these challenges there are prospects of demography for enhanced NS in Niger. PROSPECTS OF DEMOGRAPHY FOR ENHANCED NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGER 25. Niger’s government in 2012 put in place a “national action plan” to curb demographic growth which the INS says would reduce the total projected population n 2050 to 33. 3 million that is still almost 3 times its current level. The Government wants the number practising family planning to increase from 5 to 15 or 20 percent by 2015. 31 The INS says 20 percent of women claim to want it. 26.

The plan also calls for information campaigns to educate religious leaders and especially women about the availability and importance of family planning. It proposes that the prevalence of early marriages be cut. Currently, every secondary school girl is married and likely to be procreating before the age of 15, according to the Ministry of Population. Raising he marriage age to 18 would take up to 4 years Offa woman’s reproductive life. The benchmark will be 201 5 when population growth should have slowed to 2. 5 percent and the average number of children produced per woman should be 5. 2 This national action plan by the government serves as a good prospect for demography and to improve NS of Niger. Despites these prospects, the study would proffer some strategies to mitigate the identified challenges. STRATEGIES TO MITIGATE THE CHALLENGES IN DEMOGRAPHY AND NATIONAL SECURITY IN NIGER 27. The strategies to mitigate the challenges in demography and NS in Niger include rovision of basic educational facilities, enhance food production for the population and improved access and proper orientation on need of family planning. These are discussed below. 28.

Provision of Basic Educational Facilities. Provision of basic education facilities would mitigate the challenge of inadequate population education. change. The government of Niger needs to put in place more proactive measures in providing educational facilities like books, pen, textbooks amongst others and increasing the numbers of public schools both in rural and urban areas. This could be achieved by second quarter 2013. 29. Enhanced Food Production for the Population. Enhance food production for the population would mitigate the challenge of food insecurity for the growing population.

The food insecurity in the country is a result of the growing population, overused of soil suitable for rain-fed agriculture and the 2005 drought. The Government in collaboration with Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) needs to go on a massive orientation on the use of land for proper food production and the effect of overpopulation. This could commence by second quarter 2013. 30. Improved Access and Proper Orientation on need of Family Planning. Improved access and proper orientation on the need of family planning would mitigate the challenge of Poor Access to Family Planning Services.

Contraceptive prevalence remains low as a result of overcrowded and inadequate clinics, sporadic contraceptive shortages, poor transportation links, high female illiteracy and male attitudes. The Government could provide better transportation links and educate the population on the need for family planning to curb the rapid growth of the population. This could commence by second quarter 2013. The implementation plan for the proposed strategies is at Appendix 4. CONCLUSION 31 . Education, Land Usage and Family Planning were identified as issues of demography and NS in Niger.

The study viewed health, employment and youthful work force as the effects. The paper further identified inadequate population education, food insecurity for the growing population and poor access to family planning services as challenges. 32. The prospects of demography and NS were discussed. The paper finally enumerates provision of basic educational facilities, enhance food production for the population and improved access and proper orientation on need of family planning as strategies to mitigate the challenges identified. RECOMMENDATIONS 33.

It is recommended that the Nigerien Government: a. Should provide educational facilities and increasing the numbers of public schools by third quarter 2013. b. Should collaborate with NGOs to go on a massive orientation on the use of land by first quarter 2014. c. Should provide better transportation links and educate the population on the need for family planning by fourth quarter 2013. LIST OF APPENDIXES 1. Population Growth Rate in Niger Republic from 1950 to 2012. 2. Demographic Changes in Niger from 1952 TO 2012. 3. Overview of Rebellion in Niger Republic. 4. Implementation Plan. NOTES Some