Letter: Too many people? Not in Africa

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Sir: At last a Western journalist, Richard Dowden, has got something right about Africa ('Over-population is not Africa's problem', 5 September).

As an African who has lived in Britain for seven years, the ignorance exhibited by the so- called 'population experts' and Western journalists never ceases to amaze me. They think Africa is densely populated, and that the population is spiralling out of control. This is not the case. Africa is sparsely populated (about 600 million people) and in many countries the problem they have is under-population not over-population.

In many rural areas in Africa, the infant mortality rate is extremely high. If you have eight children, about four will die before their fifth birthday. Most of the work in these areas is done manually, so it is absolutely essential to have a large family.

If Africa's population is reduced without an increase in health care provision, the population will be wiped out completely by the end of the next century.

We Africans must not allow that to happen.

Yours faithfully,


London, SW9