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The growth of the world’s population has speeded up phenomenally in recent times, growing about seven-fold in the past 200 years. In 2010, the estimated population of the East and Southern Africa region was just over 400 million. This is projected to more than double to 944 million by 2050 (75 million in Southern Africa and 870 million in Eastern Africa).

The dramatic population growth is largely the result of greater numbers of people living to reproductive age, coupled with changes in fertility rates, and the processes of urbanization and migration. The repercussions of these trends, which are critical to development, will affect us for generations to come. UNFPA, as one of the largest funders of population data collection, analysis and dissemination, works with governments and institutions to identify and better understand the trends.

Getting accurate and up-to-date data on people’s needs, and using it to inform policy development and implementation, is key to sustainable development. UNFPA in the East and Southern Africa region plays a lead role in helping to build country capacity for data collection, analysis, dissemination and use.

Support is given to successful implementation of population and housing censuses, civil registration and vital statistics, and household surveys. Data collected is crucial for generating the evidence needed to guide decision making and to inform the planning and monitoring of development efforts. This includes policies and programmes at regional, national and local levels, as part of the Common African Position (CAP) on the post-2015 development agenda under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).