hungerA new study from the World Bank has shown that almost one of every two Africans live in extreme poverty.

The study which was released yesterday in Abuja attributed the high poverty rate especially in sub-Saharan Africa despite economic growth to high level inequality in both outcome and opportunities for citizens.

According to the bank’s study of the continent’s economy tagged Africa’s Pulse, an estimated 413 million Sub-Saharan Africans lived on less than $1.25 a day as at 2010 compared to 379 milloin in 1999 and the sub-region is likely to have most of the world’s poor by 2030.

“In addition, the conversion of Africa’s growth into poverty reduction has been hindered by higher initial inequality, the challenges of harnessing growth from minerals exploitation for the benefit of the broader population and continuing underperformance of its agricultural sector even though the latter has been showing signs of improvement  recently,” the study said in part.

“Africa grew faster in the last decade than most other regions, but the impact on poverty is much less than we would’ve liked. Africa’s growth has not been as powerful in reducing poverty as it could have been because of the high levels of inequality. Growth with equality is possible, but it requires a decline in inequality in both outcomes and opportunities”, says Francisco Ferreira, Deputy Regional Chief Economist, World Bank Africa Region.

The study noted that exports from the sub-region have concentrated on Oil and other minerals which it says makes countries in the region (including Nigeria) vulnerable to sharp movement in the prices of the commodities.

The study also noted that after the global financial crisis and recurring climatic volatility on the continent, a growing number of Africa countries are setting up social safety nets to protect the health and livelihoods of poor and vulnerable people during periods of adversity.

However, Africa’s Pulse notes that safety nets can protect families from the worst effects of crises and also contribute to growth as well by allowing people to raise their incomes.

By Abdulwasiu Hassan.

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