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    047030

    Keynote address.

    Moniba H

    In: The 1984 International Conference on Population: the Liberian experience, [compiled by] Liberia. Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs. Monrovia, Liberia, Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, [1986]. 9-17.

    The purpose of the National Seminar on Population is to disseminate in Liberia the results of the World Population Conference held in Mexico City in August 1984. Due to the complex interrelationships between population and development, one must conclude that rapid population growth has an adverse effect on development. Liberia has a high level of fertility (48-51 lives births per 1000 population) and a high mortality (18 per 1000 population). One result of these population trends is that the population is youthful, about 50% of the people being under 18. This high growth potential means that in future the resources necessary to support the population will be scarcer. Secondly, increasing rural to urban migration means that the cities will have more people than they have jobs, housing, education, or health facilities to support them and that the rural areas will be depopulated with attendant lowered agricultural production and rural poverty. Education is at least partly responsible for the rural-urban migration because it alerts young people to the increasing opportunities in the towns. The current trend of increasing fertility and declining mortality means decreased economic growth and a lower standard of living. To reduce this trend people must be made aware of the necessity to lower the birth rate as well as of the means to do it. People regard a large family as a status symbol and children as a source of labor and support in old age. These attitudes will not change until people trust that the Government is committed to the socioeconomic changes that will make practicable the shift from large households with low productivity to small families with high productivity. As part of this effort, the National Committee on Population is being expanded into a National Population Commission, responsible for coordinating population programs and drafting a national population policy.
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