Oct. 8, 2013
The World Bank Group has attributed the high poverty rate in sub-Saharan Africa despite economic growth to high level inequality in both outcome and opportunities for citizens.
According to the Bank’s study of the continent’s economy tagged ‘Africa’s Pulse’ released Monday an estimated 413 million Sub-Saharan Africans live on less than $1.25 a day as at 2010 compared to 379 million in 1999 and the sub-region is likely to have most of the world’s poor by 2030.
“In addition, the conversion of Africa’s growth into poverty reduction has been hindered by higher initial inequality, the challenges of harnessing growth from minerals exploitation for benefit of the broader population and continuing under performance of its agricultural sector, even though the latter has been showing signs of improvement recently,” the study said in part.
The study said almost one of every two African live in extreme poverty.
“Africa grew faster in the last decade than most other regions, but the impact on poverty is much less than we would’ve liked. Africa’s growth has not been as powerful in reducing poverty as it could have been because of the high levels of inequality. Growth with equity is possible, but it requires a decline in inequality in both outcomes and opportunities,” says Francisco Ferreira, Deputy Regional Chief Economist, World Bank Africa Region.
The study noted that the exports from the sub-region has concentrated on oil and other minerals which the study says makes countries in the region (including Nigeria) vulnerable to sharp movement in the prices of the commodities.
According to the study after the global financial crisis and recurring climatic volatility on the continent, a growing number of African countries are setting up social safety nets to protect the health and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable people during periods of adversity.
However, ‘Africa’s Pulse’ notes that safety nets can protect families from the worst effects of crises and also contribute to growth as well by allowing people to raise their incomes.