600m people will start 2019 in extreme poverty – UNECA

The United Nations Commission for Africa, UNECA, says 600 million people globally will start 2019 living in extreme poverty and only 20 million will come out of this situation by the end of the year.

This is contained in UNECA’s latest publication on poverty entitled “Africa Poverty Clock”, made available to newsmen on Thursday by the Head of Communications, UNECA-West Africa, Tahirou Gouro.

The African Poverty Clock provides real-time poverty estimates for every country on the continent, with forecasts until 2030.

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Current projections indicated that almost all of Africa was off-track in achieving the African Union vision for ending extreme poverty by 2030.

According to the report, in spite of many intervention programmes to alleviate poverty in Africa,n 2019, the continent would be home to 70 per cent of the world’s poor.

UNECA said that the figure showed an increase from 50 per cent in 2015.

“By 2023, the share of Africa’s poor will increase to more than  80 per cent of global share. In other words, Africa will be adding more poor people to the world.

“Seven out of the top ten countries in the world with the most poor people are in Africa. This is expected to rise to nine out of ten by 2030,” it said.

In addition, UNECA said that poverty reduction on the continent was impacted negatively by high level of inequality among income earners.

“When inequality levels are high, economic growth delivers less impact for poverty.

“Across many countries in Africa, the richest 20 per cent controls up to 60 per cent of the wealth, as a consequence, growth has not been inclusive.

“Africa’s inequality landscape is also characterised by high average inequality, extreme inequality and a bifurcation of inequality trends that sees substantial variations in ‘within-country’ trends.

“The mismatch between sectors of growth and employment remains a challenge. Agriculture continues to be an important contributor to economic growth and the transition to industry remains slow,” it said.

To address extreme poverty on the continent, the UNECA advised countries to focus on the African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, digital economy and push for gender inclusion.

They also urged governments to adopt adequate fiscal and structural policies to encourage  private sector investment and improve infrastructure.

According to the World Poverty Clock report, 86.9 million Nigerians are now living in extreme poverty. the report showed that the country had overtaken India as the country with the most extreme poor people in the world.