A new World Bank report has put Africa’s poverty rate at 43 per cent compared to a previous figure of 56 per cent.
The World Bank Vice President, Africa Region, Mr. Makhtar Diop said during a video conference on ‘End Poverty Day’ over the weekend that “We understand poverty has been going down in Africa significantly.”
Diop stated that the latest estimates came as “good news in the context where we have decay of solid growth in Africa averaging 5 per cent.”
“But while we are saying that, we have a lot of work to do because we still have a larger number of poor people in Africa, hundreds of millions,” he added.
He said the report represented the most recent poverty data available and seeks to highlight the need to know the determinants of poverty in Africa.
However, he said much of the progress in poverty reduction came from the non income dimension of poverty which witnessed improvement in literacy and child mortality rates as well as increase in life expectancy in the continent.
The Vice President further noted that the new figures were still a far cry compared to what is obtainable in other developing world. He said poverty eradication should not be limited to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) or Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but seen as foremost demand from the people of Africa.
“As society becomes more and more open, people are voicing the needs and wants for more inclusive growth,”, he said in a video conference from Ghana.
The reported estimated that two out of five persons were still malnourished in Africa while education systems are serious problems in terms of quality.
Diop said more investments and tough actions were required by governments to fix the energy sector particular the electricity distribution company which appeared inefficient and largely contributed to the failure of power sector.
The new Africa Poverty Report released over the weekend highlighted weak poverty data in the continent and urged governments to strengthen research instruments. It further noted that though non monetary dimension of well-being improved, levels remained low and progress had leveled off.
It said poverty in Africa may be lower than current estimates suggest although more “people are poor today than in 1990.” It also said inequality patterns vary across the African continent.
It further expressed concern over the low quality of surveys conducted by countries – some often incomparable. It cited a particular case of Nigeria as an example.
It said: “One survey of Nigeria’s poverty rate in 2010 estimated the figure at 26 per cent; another conducted the same year, putting the figure at 53 per cent. With 20 per cent of Africa’s population in Nigeria, this discrepancy makes a big difference in tracking trends in the region.”