December 2, 2021

World Bank – poverty remains unacceptably high in Sub-Saharan Africa

2 min read

The Global Monitoring Report 2015/2016 by the World Bank has shed light at Africa’s continued poverty challenge stating that the high rate of poverty is unacceptably high in the world especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa still faces poverty challenges

A first key challenge is the depth of poverty, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The decline in poverty rates has been impressive. Yet, poverty still remains unacceptably high—around

900 million extremely poor people in 2012 and a projected 700 million people in 2015.

It is also becoming increasingly concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa. Over the last decades, the vast majority (about 95 percent) of global poverty has been concentrated in three regions: East Asia and the Pacific, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Over time, the composition of global poverty across these three regions has shifted dramatically. East Asia and the Pacific registered a spectacular decline. South Asia saw an initial increase and a later decline, with rates remaining high.

The report says Sub-Saharan Africa saw a steady increase in its share and was home to 43 percent of the global poor in 2012. The growing globe share of Sub-Saharan Africa reflects slower poverty reduction amid rapid population growth: in 2012 the region’s poverty rate stood at 42.7 percent, which is only 14.1 points lower than in 1990

The report also says development progress over the past 15 years has been impressive and that most developing countries grew at a sustained strong pace during the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) monitoring period, notwithstanding the negative impact from the 2009 global financial crisis, adding that together with strong per capita growth, income differences between countries were reduced, and about 1 billion people exited extreme poverty.

The latest available data suggest that extreme poverty continued its descent and a majority of countries saw solid income growth for the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution. Progress was also observed in other dimensions. Millions of children who were unlikely to survive to their fifth birthday have passed beyond these critical years and gone on to school in ever greater proportions. The incidence of preventable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis is falling, and the share of people with access to clean water and better sanitation has risen markedly. A few countries have succeeded in growing while simultaneously reducing the level of environmental externalities and carbon emissions—a virtuous state of green growth.

The report however states that despite such development gains, significant work remains because MDG outcomes have been marked by significant heterogeneity in dimensions, across regions, and between urban and rural areas, resulting in unevenness in poverty reduction and shared prosperity.

Extreme poverty remains unacceptably high and geographically concentrated in areas where both the depth and breadth of poverty are grave. Many countries, especially high-income ones, saw bottom 40 incomes  decline in recent years, likely due to the recent crisis, while the bottom 40 persistently lag in their access to quality social services, such as education and health, due to inequality of opportunity.

Story adapted from World Bank Global Database for Shared Prosperity.


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