A recent report by five former directors of the population and reproductive health program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID) urged much more investment in family planning to curb poverty, population growth and maternal mortality.
The group strongly recommended that the U.S. increase its spending on overseas family planning to $1.2 billion in next year's funding, from the $475 million in 2008. Joseph Spiedel, former president of Population Action International, and writer of the report, said, "We could cut population growth in about half through family planning."
According to the report, 201 million of the world's women do not have access to family planning. Africa has the largest need for investment. Eighteen percent of African women use modern contraceptives, in comparison to 56 percent of women in the remaining developing world.
The world's population could actually reach 11.9 billion in 2050 without a great increase in the use of contraceptives. But if the U.S. and other developed countries increased their investments, the population growth could be capped at 8 billion, which would be a considerable difference.