Levels of contraceptive use vary widely across FP2020 countries, and have implications for how much acceleration countries can expect as they strive toward their FP2020 goals. Across the FP2020 countries, all women mCPR averaged 33.5% in 2016, compared to 32.4% in 2012 (weighted averages). Growth has varied greatly across regions, and progress in mCPR growth since 2012 is partly related to where countries lie on the S-Curve. At the midpoint of 2016, in 14 of the focus countries, mCPR was greater than 40%. In 29 countries, mCPR ranged from 20% to 40%, and in 26 countries, mCPR was less than 20%.
Many countries in Asia, including several of the largest FP2020 countries such as India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, already had relatively high levels of contraceptive use in 2012 and have shown little growth in the proportion of women using a modern method since 2012. In contrast, many countries in Eastern and Southern Africa are in a period of great potential for mCPR growth. The region has seen the most rapid growth in mCPR since 2012, and for the first time ever, more than 30% of women and girls are using a modern method of contraception, up from 25% in 2012. Several countries in the region are among the most rapidly growing FP2020 countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, and Mozambique, each of which has seen mCPR rise by almost 5 percentage points or more since 2012. Looking forward, some of these countries are well-positioned for continued or even faster mCPR growth if they make the right investments in program expansion and improved service quality to meet their populations’ family planning needs. Others may see their rapid progress naturally slow as mCPR reaches high levels, and these countries will need to look more carefully at their subnational data to guide further program investments.
Western and Central Africa had the lowest levels of contraceptive use in 2012, and historically the region has seen little progress in increasing mCPR. Recent estimates suggest that several Western African countries, including Senegal, Niger, and Benin, are now showing signs of increasing modern contraceptive use, and may with the right investments enter a period of rapid mCPR growth. Contraceptive use in several other countries in Western and Central Africa, however, still remains extremely low—under 10%—and shows no sign of growth. South-South exchange through the Ouagadougou Partnership and other platforms can help these lowest prevalence countries learn from the successes of their neighbors and encourage a focus on generating demand for family planning.