Government wants to reduce Zimbabwe's fertility rate to three children per family by 2020 and align population growth to national economic growth, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa has said. Total fertility rate refers to the average number of live births a woman can have by age 50.
According to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency, this rate stands at 3,8 children per woman, a figure analysts say is high, considering the 2014 estimated economic growth rate of about 3 percent.
Zimbabwe's population, according to the 2012 Census, is estimated at 13 million. The total fertility rate is not among Africa's highest with places like Guinea recording seven children per woman.
Dr Parirenyatwa, in an interview, said it was important to reduce population growth and align it to economic growth.
He said it would be unwise for the population to grow while straining infrastructure and resources.
"The country, in my view, needs an optimum population. We need to look at our level of production and the number of consumers and see if they tally… We are working with various arms of the ministry, which include the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council, to encourage couples to use birth control methods which we feel will help us achieve our targets."
ZNFPC marketing and communication manager Mr Simon Chikwizo said Government mandated them to reduce population growth. Mr Chikwizo said ZNFPC would, among other things, increase contraceptive prevalence from 58 percent to 70 percent by 2020.
Economic analyst Mr Trust Chikohora said achieving optimum population growth was important for infrastructural development planning.
"If population growth is aligned to the rate at which a country's economy will be growing then the standard of life in that country also improves," he said.
"Estimates show that economic growth for 2014 is at 3 percent, which, in my view, is way too low.
"This would also add sense to the move by Government to control population growth."