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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Aug 11, 2010

Obstacles to Family Planning in Egypt

Previous analysis ( see July Posts) focused on population growth in the Arab world and its negative consequences on food shortages, water scarcity, education, unemployment, poverty and housing. Family planning and birth control have not been successful in the few countries that introduced them. In Tunisia, which has the lowest birth rate in the Arab world, the program was a success. Egypt, the most populated country in the Arab world, officially introduced family planning and birth control more than fifty years ago, but it was not successful. Recently, President Mubarak stressed the importance and seriousness of the issue of overpopulation to the economic development in Egypt (www.ahram.org 12/27/09). During the previous four years, birth rates increased from 1.85 million babies in 2006 to 2.2 million babies in 2009.

This increase led Prime Minister Dr. Natheef and the minister of Family and population plan to reevaluate the old strategy and develop new ones to deal with the population growth. In addition, the minster of economic development, Dr. Othman Muhammad, also stressed the danger of population growth which hinders economic development. He stressed that Egyptian families should limit their family size to two babies and Egypt should reach that goal by 2017. He noted that at the present, Egyptians live on 7% of the total land and that area should increase to 17%-20% by the year 2017. He pointed out that the population density in Cairo is 2.5 million people per square km. (www.ahram.org, 12/16/09).

The two babies per family is the new target set by Mrs. Khattab, the minister of state for family and population plan. I am not confident that even the new strategy will work in Egypt. There are several socio-cultural factors contributing to the high fertility rate, not only in Egypt but the Arab world in general. This should be part of any new strategy focusing on family planning and birth control. They are:

1) Traditional Islamic religious beliefs.
2) Early marriages and husband and wives pragmatic reasons for a large family.
3) The high illiteracy rate, especially among females.



  1. Best website I've found all day..
    Do you have any information on how the culture affectsa Middle Eastern's health care choices?
    Such as, beliefs in birth control, life, death, and birth?

  2. Egypt must ensure that literacy in females is improved upon,so that they can take better decisions on productive health