The Emerging Face of Extreme Global Poverty
By admin September 6, 2016

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In a startling report issued by the United Kingdom-based think tank, Overseas Development Institute, over the next 14-years, Africa will make up almost 90 percent of extreme poverty among children worldwide – nearly a 40 percent increase from figures today. In other terms, one in five children in sub-Saharan Africa will be subjected to poverty in their lifetime, accounting for almost 43 percent of the lion share of global extreme poverty worldwide.

It is undeniable the great strides Africa has achieved in its development, maintaining solid growth rates while surpassing other regions of the world. The region’s overall success story has been largely credited with helping a number of countries tackle some of the most pressing targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), from reducing child mortality rates to ensuring gender parity in early and secondary education. However, when it comes to Africa’s poor, surpassing the World Bank’s US $1.90 poverty threshold is still many miles away. Inequality, in particular, happens to be an enormous detriment in addressing uncontrolled poverty, as countries over the last two decades have attempted to define growth in terms of GDP than the targets crossed off to combat poverty. Moreover, Africa’s population explosion may be what tips the continent over – where population growth is expected to contribute nearly 82 percent of total growth by 2100.

The report combines several demographic data and the World Bank poverty scenario to illustrate global poverty in the 21st century. If current trajectories follow, it is expected that around 22 percent of Africa’s children, or 147.7 million combined, will account for those in total living below extreme poverty in the region.

Governments across the continent will have to come together to tackle ongoing challenges in poverty reduction. Policies, when implemented successfully, can turn some of Africa’s burdens into blessings. By integrating strategies to harness the demographic dividends, investing in human capital, and guaranteeing equitable distribution of services and wealth, the continent can capitalize on some of the seismic changes that are presently underway. “Modest levels of redistribution in which the incomes of the poorest 40% rise at two percentage points above the average,” according to the report, “would lift significant numbers of sub-Saharan African children above the poverty threshold,” eventually reducing child poverty by an expected 50 percent.

More importantly, as the report states, “changing this picture will require a major increase in the quantity and quality of health personnel and facilities, along with a greatly strengthened focus on equity.” Making sure women and young girls also have equal access to reproductive health care services and family planning will be central to empowering their rights, as well future generations, while providing a critical link to reducing poverty in other dimensions. “Having fewer, healthier children can reduce the economic burden on poor families and allow them to invest more in each child’s care and schooling, helping to break the cycle of poverty,” according to UNICEF.

If the world is serious about ensuring the end of extreme poverty under the 2030 goals, a game plan that places the children of Africa at the forefront of global poverty reduction will be imperative to make certain that the changing face of global poverty will not be that of an African child.

For more information:

90% Of The World’s Poorest Children Will Be Isolated To One Region By 2030

Child poverty, inequality and demography: Why sub-Saharan Africa matters for the Sustainable Development Goals

Sub-Saharan African children left behind amid global poverty fall

Poverty and inequality is entrenched, increasing in Africa, study says

High birth rates and poverty undermine a generation of African children – report

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