Focusing on chronic poverty


 

The Development Initiatives Africa Hub, working in collaboration with the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network (CPAN), will today launch the third Global Chronic Poverty Report, in Nairobi, Kenya. The launch will also include highlights of the forthcoming East Africa Chronic Poverty Report.

Global Chronic Poverty Report

The Global Chronic Poverty Report 2014–2015: The road to zero extreme poverty is based on household panel survey data from Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa and Uganda. It highlights the millions of people across the globe believed to be still living in “grinding and long-term poverty that scars their lives, and often the lives of their children”.

With contributions from Development Initiatives’ Charles Lwanga-Ntale and Tim Strawson, the report calls for fresh impetus for a new goal in the post-2015 framework to eradicate extreme poverty, thus ensuring the framework deals with chronic poverty, preventing impoverishment and protecting those who escape poverty from slipping back. Up to a billion people could still be extremely poor by 2030 if current policy and action doesn’t change.

The report proposes an impoverishment index that governments can use in making decisions on allocating resources for different poverty reduction policies, and urges that in order to inch closer to ending extreme poverty policy must ensure substantive investments in:

  • Social assistance to draw chronically poor people nearer to a decent standard of living, to provide safety nets, and to promote investments that could facilitate the exit from poverty
  • Basic education, including pre-schooling, to ensure the poorest receive good quality education
  • Pro-poorest economic growth that ensures the benefits of increased national growth reach the very poor.

East Africa Chronic Poverty Report – coming soon

Development Initiatives’ research on the issue of chronic poverty spans the last decade. Next month, we will be publishing our own report on chronic poverty in East Africa. The report focuses in on chronic poverty and extreme deprivation in four member countries of the East Africa Community (EAC): Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

There are important reasons for focusing on people who are chronically poor in the EAC. Though most of the countries in the EAC have posted significant gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates in the past 10 years, a large number of people in the region continue to face extreme deprivation. It is estimated that about 20 million East Africans (about 15% of the regional population) are classified as either chronically poor or experiencing extreme poverty. Such a large number of deprived people will continue to demand public support in order to become less deprived. In addition, national priorities as depicted in national budgets indicate a shift towards prioritising infrastructure investments – with very limited attention to social protection. This suggests that people who are chronically poor may receive less attention in the near future and as such warrant special attention presently.

 

Photo: Ana Nascimento/MDS