Re: The World Is Becoming More African

Published: October 31, 2023

The New York Times recently published an article about population growth and the young age structure in sub-Saharan Africa. One of our board members, Melvine Ouyo, responded with a letter to the editor which we are featuring here as the Times did not publish it.

We encourage all our members and supporters to make their voices heard! See our media guide for advice on how to do that.

To the Editor:

Re “The World Is Becoming More African” by Declan Walsh (Oct. 28):

Thank you for acknowledging that the combination of rapid population growth, climate change and lack of opportunities for young people is a disaster in the making. We can and must leverage the true potential of a young Africa, but it will require significant investment in women and girls.

Too many young African women see their hopes and dreams dashed by gender-based violence, child marriage, teen pregnancy and being forced to drop out of school. High fertility rates are often a result of extreme gender inequality, and a large family size can trap women and children in a cycle of poverty.

Enabling girls to postpone pregnancy, complete their education and enter the job market is the most powerful sustainable development lever. Empowering women leads to healthier and wealthier families, less pressure on the environment, and more peace and security. This is the investment Africa desperately needs – and there is no time to lose.


Melvine Ouyo, BScN, MPA, MPH
Vice Chair, Population Connection
Founder and Executive Director, Hope for Kenya Slum Adolescents Initiative (HKSAI)