Magazine article UN Chronicle

Poverty May Lessen by 2000, except in Africa

Magazine article UN Chronicle

Poverty May Lessen by 2000, except in Africa

Article excerpt

Poverty my lessen by 2000, except in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where poverty is not likely to decline by the year 2000, the World Bank says. While 400 million people elsewhere could rise from poverty by the beginning of the twenty-first century if the Bank's two-pronged strategy is adopted, high fertility rates in Africa would still make the number of the poor swell by nearly 100 million.

The Bank's World Development Report 1990 states that family planning services are vital for poverty reduction, especially where a high population growth rate--such as the 3 to 4 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa--depresses per capita income which results in low wages and growing poverty.

The Report forecasts that some 265 million people, or 43.1 per cent of the population of Africa, south of the Sahara, would live in poverty in the year 2000. In 1985, the figure was 180 million (46.8 per cent). "By the end of the century, sub-Saharan Africa will account for more than 30 per cent of the developing world's poor, as against 16 per cent in 1685."

Even to hold the number of the poor in Africa at the 1985 level will require a massive effort which includes: gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.5 per cent a year--almost 2 per cent higher than projected--a radical restructuring of industry, improved incentives and technology for agriculture and increased allocations of resources to primary education, health care, nutrition, and family planning. "This cannot be achieved unless Governments strengthen their reform efforts and donors increase their assitance", the World Bank states.

According to the Economic Report on Africa--1990, released by the Economic Commission for Africa on 15 May, there was a modest upturn in that continent's economy in 1989, mainly due to a surge in agricultural output and higher oil and mineral export earnings. …

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