Countering ICPD25: Population, Underdevelopment Narratives, Ploy to Impoverish Africa

Pro-Life supporters demonstrate against ICPD25 in Nairobi, Kenya

As the widely publicized and “controversial “United Nations” Summit bringing together thousands of delegates from across the globe is set to kick off in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, voices of dissent faulting the meeting have increased, the argument of misplaced priorities and a wrong agenda characterizing criticisms leveled against the three-day conference.

Driven by the agenda to control population growth in Africa framed as “sexual and reproductive health and rights,” the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) has been described as a ploy by some global entities to create the perception that Africans are poor and that curtailing population growth will improve things on the continent.

“Why do we think we have too many people? It is because we do not have many resources for them and why are there not enough resources for them? Because of the billions or trillions of dollars that have been stolen from the public and so they do not have access to basic life needs,” the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Rev. Prof. Stephen Mbugua Ngari probed Sunday, November 10 during the opening Mass of the Prolife and Family Friendly Side Events at CUEA grounds.

He added in reference to one of the themes guiding ICPD25, “This image of poverty and population being unsustainable is what is bringing in the agenda of family planning.” 

Prof. Mbugua faulted corruption and bad governance in Africa as factors behind the wrong perception that Africa is poor.


“I will say that corruption steals the public resources and with a few billionaires and majority poor people, then they are perceived as poor; poor because they have been made poor by this rotting, mismanagement of public resources,” Prof. Mbugua concluded.

Speaking to ACI Africa, CitizenGO Campaigns Director for Africa region Anne Kioko, said that money which is given to Africa in the form of grants and aids is awarded with conditions that the recipients fulfil some agenda. 

“With our governments, especially the third-world countries, we are given money with attachments,” she said and continued, “If you're given some money, you're told you have to legalize abortion, you have to legalize homosexuality, you have to legalize or start offering a curriculum like comprehensive sexuality education in your country.”

“The most unfortunate thing is that our countries need the money, but now this money comes from these big powers who have an agenda,” she added.

The sentiments by Ms. Kioko were shared by  Richard Augustine Kakeeto, one of the organizers of the side events who told ACI Africa, “I would admit for sure that our leaders whether in the Church or in the civil world have a tendency to overlook many things when an opportunity for a grant comes up.”  

More in Africa

“Chances are usually, that the grant maker sets their standards and you redefine your mission almost, so that you may get that grant,” Kakeeto who lectures at CUEA said and continued, “there is a connection between population and power. When a country has many people even if it is poor, that country is moving towards power.”

“Many European nations including Denmark are below 1.7 total fertility rate. Africa is above 3.5. Actually, they're coming into Kenya because partly Kenya is doing very well in controlling its population,” Kakeeto who is a Lay Franciscan told ACI Africa in reference to lamentations that developed countries are advancing family planning and abortion agenda in Africa.  

Quoting Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si, Kakeeto added, “population is not our problem, for you to blame the population on the damage to the environment, for you to blame the population on climate change is to miss the point; the real problem is how we consume, the greed that we have as human beings.”

Various organizations have voiced their concerns about ICPD25, with the Kenya Christian Professionals’ Forum (KCPF) organizing a parallel conference to counter ICPD25 and the Holy See making known its stance of not supporting the “Nairobi Statement on ICPD25: Accelerating the Promise.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.