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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – While development in the East and Southern Africa region depends on our ability to transform our populations to achieve the collective global and continental goals, the region’s population is projected to grow from 618 million people in 2020 to 1.1 billion by 2050 – putting added pressure on land and resources.

If investments in targeted interventions are increased to reach a greater number of people, governments could avert a significantly higher number of unintended pregnancies, preventable maternal deaths and unsafe abortions. This will enable a healthier, more productive workforce and contribute towards ‘The Africa We Want’.

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063, national governments, UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, and partners have committed to ending unmet need for family planning, ending preventable maternal death and ending gender-based violence and harmful practices by 2030. The three transformative results form the core of the SDG targets 3.7 and 5.6.

On this score, the East and Southern Africa region is making good progress. One in three women use modern family planning methods today, compared to one in ten in 1994. The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) declined by more than 50 per cent between 1994 and 2017. Yet one in five women had an unmet need for family planning in the region in 2021. To meet the MMR goal of no more than 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030, the pace of decline needs to be three times quicker.

Speeding up pace of progress

Financing is therefore needed to scale up interventions that work. Most countries have earmarked additional resources for health, but the increases are inadequate. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, one in three governments in the region were spending the recommended level of around $86 per capita for the minimum package of health services. 

The extent of financing needed to achieve the three transformative results by 2030 was released during the landmark Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 (International Conference on Population and Development 25th anniversary) in 2019, by UNFPA and partners. The world needs a $264 billion global solution for sexual and reproductive health - yet a $222 billion financing gap remains. Governments asked what the cost would be for their countries to meet the goals.

Country estimations of scale of investment required

UNFPA collaborated with academic institutions to develop the Impact40 Toolkit. Using tailored tools and approaches, governments can now do their own in-country estimations of costing to determine the scale of investment required and gaps in financing.

“Every country now has the opportunity to access these tools to estimate their unique national price tags, guided by where to invest and the scale of impact that could be achieved,” said Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, UNFPA Regional Director a.i. for East and Southern Africa.

UNFPA recently held a discussion of the results of five such investment cases – for Botswana, Kenya, Madagascar, Namibia, South Sudan. Also, in collaboration with the Government of Eswatini, an analysis was carried out of the nation’s sexual and reproductive health budget within the health sector. The countries will use the information to shape their policy actions and determine the scale of financing required, to guide their efforts to meet the SDGs and the three transformative results.

Said Rindra Hasimbelo Rabarinirinarison, Madagascar’s Minister of Economy and Finance, “We are committed to working with our partners to ensure the availability of domestic financing for the implementation of this investment framework.”


UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Our mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA calls for the realization of reproductive rights for all and supports access to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, maternal health care and comprehensive sexuality education.

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 UNFPA East and Southern Africa


For more information or to arrange an interview:

Daisy Diamante Leoncio
UNFPA East and Southern Africa Regional Communications Adviser
+1 347 4919154