International Day of Eradication of Poverty

As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in the world, none of us can truly exist.

Nelson Mandela

Poverty in Africa

(Source: UNICEF)

The elimination of poverty is the first UN Sustainable Development Goal.  Globally, poverty rates have declined, however, only in some regions. More than half of the extreme poor live in Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, the number of poor in the region increased by 9 million, with 413 million people living on less than US$1.90 a day in 2015, more than all the other regions combined. Sadly, if the trend continues, by 2030, nearly 9 out of 10 extreme poor will be in Sub-Saharan Africa.

African women and poverty

Women account for about 50 percent, not 70 percent, of the world’s extreme poor. However poverty is sexist. Here is why: women have less resources and tools to escape poverty. There is a 7% gender gap in access to bank accounts, which widens to 9% in developing countries. In most countries, women earn 60-75% of men’s wages on average. During elections in fragile and transitional states, female voters are 4 times as likely to be targeted for intimidation than male voters.  In sub-Saharan Africa, 45 percent fewer women than men have access to the Internet. There are over 130 million girls out of school worldwide. In the world’s poorest countries, girls are out of school at a higher rate than boys.

(Source: World Poverty Clock)

Children and poverty

Extreme poverty, measured at $1.90 per person per day, disproportionately affects children – 387 million, or 19.5% of the world’s children live in extreme poverty compared to just 9.2% of adults. Children represent half of the poor yet are just one third of the underlying population.  Children in rural areas are nearly three times more likely to live in extreme poverty than those in urban areas. Extreme poverty leads to stunted development, limited future productivity as adults, and intergenerational transmission of poverty

The number of poor people living in Africa is currently growing by five people per minute. Also, we won’t end extreme poverty until we break down the barriers holding girls and women back. Beside gender inequality, spatial inequality exists too. People in rural areas are more likely to be affected by poverty.  If we want to end poverty, we need to focus on Africa.

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