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Rwanda drafts law to limit number of children per family

[JURIST] A law is currently being drafted in the Rwandan Parliament [official website] that would limit families to having three children in order to curb increasing poverty levels [UN backgrounder], an official said Wednesday. Although the law as drafted does not include punitive measures for families who violate it, it would includes incentives for families who limit themselves to three children. Since the 1994 genocide [BBC backgrounder] of 800,000 Rwandans, the country has had one of the highest birth rates in Africa in attempt to re-populate the country. Rwandan women average six children each and, according to official reports, the country now has the highest population density in Africa - 343 people per square kilometer.

With the rapid growth in population comes a corresponding growth in poverty. According to Francois Sekamondo, an officer at the Rwandan Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning [official website], an annual 3 percent population growth translates to a 93 percent rise in poverty. The Rwandan proposal resembles China's Family Planning Law [China.org backgrounder], which mandates one child per family. China's law, in combination with other family planning efforts, has successfully restrained population growth. Reuters has more.

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