A first: Reuters mentions the sky-high population growth rate in a story about ‘hungry Mali’

DJIMEBOUGOU, MALI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Dust blows through the dry fields of Djimebougou village of central Mali as a dozen men, some in ripped jeans and others in traditional robes, dig into hard-packed sand to reinforce a dyke to channel scarce water onto thirsty fields.

The rainy season arrives in June but for now there is not much to do in this sleepy, drought-prone village halfway between Mali’s capital Bamako and the Mauritanian border.

Growing enough food has never been easy in Mali, but climate change is robbing West Africa’s Sahel region of already unreliable rainfall…

…”We still can’t produce enough food for the village, but we are getting there,” Maheta Sacko, the local chief, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the rest of the community watching with fascination.

Mali faces a range of problems to improve food supplies: widespread poverty, conflict, water shortages, the impact of climate change, and a fast-growing population…

…Across the Sahel, food production is not keeping pace with population growth, according to an October study from Sweden’s Lund University.

In 22 arid countries in Africa’s Sahel and north, the population has risen 30 percent in a decade to 471 million in 2010, one of the fastest growth rates in the world…

Mali is #2 in the world, in terms of number of children per woman. The following is a screenshot of those countries with a TFR of 5 or higher (from the CIA World Factbook).  Click to enlarge or use CWF link to see the entire list.