A five-day conference that the United Nations organised on demographic problems throughout Africa opened on Monday (22 January) in the Ivory Coast capital of Abidjan.
GV EXTERIOR Hotel Ivoire in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and sign "Colloque do demographic Africaine d'Abidjan" (TWO SHOTS)
CU & SV Ivory Coast Interior Minister Ange Francois Battesti speaking in French with delegates listening (TWO SHOTS)
GV & CU shanty town and people in Abidjan (Minister Battesti's sound continues over) (FIVE SHOTS)
SV Interior Minister Battesti speaks in French with delegates listening (TWO SHOTS)
GV & CU modern tower blocks and streets of Abidjan (Battesti's French speech continues over)
SV INTERIOR delegates applaud (TWO SHOTS)
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Background: A five-day conference that the United Nations organised on demographic problems throughout Africa opened on Monday (22 January) in the Ivory Coast capital of Abidjan. Almost one hundred delegates from French-speaking countries of the continent attended.
SYNOPSIS: The delegates met at the Hotel Ivoire. Their main topic was the problems brought about by growing populations, and more and more people moving from the countryside into towns. The Ivory Coast's Interior Minister, Monsieur Agne Francois Battesti, told the seminar his work concentrated on the economic side of population growth. He describe as a disaster the accumulating effects of social services having too little money to cope with rapidly-growing populations.
Monsieur Battesti cited slums and shanty towns as the most hideous symptoms of Africa's problems in demographics, which is the study of statistics of births, deaths, diseases and so on to show the condition of life in communities. He said the poor conditions, and lack of opportunities in rural areas of many countries forced people to seek better prospects in cities. This movement spread the growth of slums and unemployment.
The Minister saw economic problems at the root of Africa's social worries, with the influx of people into over-extended cities making it very hard for governments in their efforts to adjust economic growth to population growth.
Among African countries, the Ivory Coast has handled these problems better than most. The tall buildings and motorways that have turned Abidjan into a regional metropolis in the past decade, are tangible evidence of its progress. Its economic growth has averaged seven percent over the last fifteen years, the result, officials say, of its well-managed free economy.
This progress has encouraged many foreign companies to base their regional offices in Abidjan.