World Bank Hails Progress Against Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa
The World Bank has credited a number of sub-Saharan nations for their progress against poverty over the last 13 years.
Tanzania has been singled out as a top performer in the fight against poverty, while fellow sub-Saharan neighbours Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana have also been praised by the organisation.
‘Accelerated decline in poverty’
“We see robust growth but also accelerated decline in poverty in these countries,” World Bank Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, said. “Poverty has been going down in Africa significantly from 56% to 43% since 1999-2012. However, with about 337 million poor people, there is still a lot of work to be done since this is still a large number.”
The Vice President was speaking while presenting an extensive report on the current situation in Africa, to mark Poverty Day last week. And, although sub-Saharan nations were the subject of much praise, there were also calls for awareness of the fresh challenges the African continent will have to face.
New challenges for African countries
“The global economy is going to force new challenges on African countries so that the registered programmes which we have designed to probably continue supporting the growth momentum in Africa may be negatively affected,” said Prof. Thomas Kigabo. “For Africa, I think we are doing very well but the external factors may probably reduce the speed of what we are doing.”
Rwanda President Paul Kagame and his government are credited with the nation’s impressive turnaround since the devastating genocide that took place in 1994. Government policies have turned agriculture into a driving force against poverty in Rwanda – not only improving the harvests as a result but also creating more jobs and increasing the income in rural areas.
Despite huge progress in Rwanda over the last two decades, experts warn there is more work to be done, under increasingly difficult circumstances.
“The human toll of poverty in Africa remains unacceptably high with the target set by the Sustainable Development Goals to end extreme poverty by 2030, much work is needed to accelerate poverty reduction,” Diop said.
“Significant efforts must be made to boost productivity in agriculture, a sector that still employs most of the region’s poorest and increase access to affordable and reliable electricity,” he said.