AU report shows marginal cut on extreme poverty rates in East Africa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) – Economic growth in East Africa managed to reduce extreme poverty rates by an average of 1 percentage point annually sustained over 23 years between 1990 and 2013, a maiden report by the African Union measuring economic trends in Africa shows.

The report, titled “Africa’s Development Dynamics,” which examined the prospects of economic growth, job creation and inequalities, shows that the rate at which extreme poverty was cut was much clumsier in West Africa, where poverty rates dropped by a cumulative rate of 12 percentage points over the 1990-2013 period.

Inequality, measured by the distribution of wealth and basic income per household across the population, was much greater in Southern Africa, which has a list of six out of the 10 most unequal countries in the world.

“Africa has significant assets for addressing its issues,” said Victor Harison, Commissioner of Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission during the report launch Wednesday.

The Commissioner said countries in Africa were supported by a young and enterprising population, regions undergoing fundamental change with economic growth in rural areas and rapid urbanization and considerable natural resources as well as rich ecosystems supporting growth.

However, public policies failed to effectively harness and utilise the massive potential for economic growth and prosperity.

“The implementation of the reform programme set out in Agenda 2063 requires an increase in government capacities and greater responsibility,” Harison said during the launch of the report at the AU headquarters on Wednesday.

In East Africa, the report shows economic dynamics have been defined by an average of 4% driven by services, which are part of a massive 60 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in most countries, but which are run by the informal sector.

Industry remained unchanged during the past two decades, accounting for 20% of the GDP. Growth was therefore defined by private consumption. Governments in the region on the other hand, were seen to cut down on public investments while remaining dependent on raw materials exports.

Poverty remains high at 35% of the population in East Africa with measures to combat poverty mostly focused on social protection and education and skills development, according to the report. Extreme poverty dropped from 56% in 1990 to 33% but some 104 million people in the region remain in extreme poverty.

“Africa also has a vital role to play in the extensive reshaping of the framework of international co-operation as required by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The continent is an extraordinary cradle of innovation for development strategies and it is important that it pays greater attention and better support the implementation of its creative strategies,” said Mario Pezzini, Director of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Centre, which co-authored the maiden AU economic report.

In West Africa, poverty rates decreased from 55.4% to 43.8% between 1990 and 2013 but the number of people living in poverty increased to 144.4 million because the region’s population doubled from 170 million in 1990 to 360 million people in 2017.
-0- PANA AO/MA 12July2018

12 juillet 2018 06:42:53




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