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(The Guardian) Isn’t it Europe that is overpopulated, rather than Africa?

When you arrive in Europe for the first time, the first shock you get is seeing how overpopulated the place is, especially the western part.

A small country like France, which is five times smaller than the Democratic Republic of Congo, has about the same population – 67 million inhabitants. The UK is smaller than Gabon, but has a population of more than 60 million inhabitants, compared to Gabon’s population of just over 1.5 million. The worst example is a micro country like Belgium (just over 30000 km square, 167 times smaller than the Congo) which has a population of 11 million. That’s 365 people per km square, compared to the DRC’s rate of 30.

The first question you ask yourself is how they manage to feed themselves in a resource-poor continent like Europe? Why do they have so many kids when Europe is already the only continent to send more than half a billion economic and political refugees to other richer places of the world during the last five centuries? Is it because of the high fertility rate of their men or because of the cold weather which forces them to spend lots of time inside with only one activity left … copulation!

For many people concerned about overpopulation, Africa takes the centre of attention because of the recent growth of its population. But the concept of overpopulation is a fraud and a convenient ideology, because it ignores impact per capita (per one person) and focuses on simple numerics.

In reality, the USA consumes 25% of the world’s resources while its population is only 5% of the total. The west as a block – the USA and Europe – represents slightly less than 15% of the world’s population, but its consumption far outstrips most of the rest of the world, with one study finding that the US, Europe and Japan together suck up 80% of the world’s natural resources.

Africa, as a whole, has a population smaller than China, and a total GDP which is half that of a small country like France. Considering that it’s an already overpopulated continent, it’s surprising that many European countries give incentives to families to make more babies. And, for an already underpopulated continent, Africa is crowded with western overpopulation experts giving money to NGOs and governments to stop population growth. In the meantime, China is abandoning its one child policy to boost its population.

It is only in Africa that we talk about having population reduction funded by western NGOs and governments. Is it because Africa does not have resources to feed 2 billion people? No. It’s because some other nations want those resources for their own people instead.

I hope you won’t bite on this new covert war on the poor – another distraction from the real culprits. The world is overpopulated, so let’s have less rich people. That should be the real agenda.

Mawuna Remarque Koutonin is the editor of SiliconAfrica.com and a social activist for Africa Renaissance. Follow @siliconafrica on Twitter.

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