In Summary
  • There is an urgent need for Sub-Saharan African countries to make sure they translate their economic growth figures into reduction of poverty, the World Bank notes, arguing that if nothing is done, nine in every 10 extremely poor people will live in the region by the year 2030.

Dar es Salaam. Recent lucrative economic growth rates have had little impact on poverty alleviation in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), the World Bank (WB) says, calling upon policy makers to formulate policies that will result into inclusive growth.

In its data, published as ‘Year in Review: 2018 in 14 Charts’, the WB says that lack of success in channeling growth into poverty reduction is one of the factors that cause SSA countries to continue suffering from extreme poverty.

The WB report predicts that if nothing is done immediately, by 2030 nearly 9 of every 10 extremely poor people will be living in SSA.

Analysts say the region needs transformative policies that will drive it from the impending problems.

They urge African countries to take measures that will formulate policies that will create a direct link between their economies’ growth and the people.

“These policies will absorb more youth in the economic systems by creating enough employment opportunities and a conducive business environment.

“By creating productive jobs, it will lead to generation of income, and through the earnings people can eventually rise out of poverty,” the executive director of Policy Research for Development, famously known as Repoa, Dr Donald Mmari, told The Citizen.

“People fail to recognise that households’ acquisition of assets and durable assets over the years is also an indication of reduction in poverty levels,” he said, noting that in the past people were living in grass-thatched houses.

“Currently decent houses are found in some of the remotest areas…Even availability and accessibility of individual modes of communication and transportation have improved,” he said.

Tanzania has one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, with its gross domestic product (GDP) growing at an average of seven per cent during the past two decades.

However, according to the 2012 Household Budget Survey, the basic needs poverty (referring to the minimum resources needed for physical wellbeing) declined from 34.4 per cent in 2006, to 28.2 per cent by 2012.

Dr Mmari said developing countries’ economic growth rates were higher largely due to massive public investments in technology and infrastructure projects.

“Most of the developing countries focus on investment in physical capital amenities that are in shortage. Developed countries have already achieved a lot in these areas and that is why our economies are seen as developing faster than theirs…This is also why we advocate transformation policies that will absorb more poor people in the system to reduce poverty levels,” he said.

With jobs, the poor will then be able to cater to their basic needs, including sending their children to school.

The increase in the number of literate people in a particular country may lead to the emergence of a strong and growing group of innovators and entrepreneurs, which should generate pressure for improved governance.