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Extreme Poverty and Hunger Eradication 7
I. Problem Overview
While the world has realized accelerated achievement in reducing extreme poverty over the last decades, poverty and hunger remain a chronic challenge in Africa. The Work Bank reports a decline in the global population living in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 a day) plunged to a low of 10% by 2015 which is equivalent to 736 million living below the poverty line (World Bank, 2018). The significant progress has been disproportionate, with the progress mainly recorded in South Asia, East Asia, and Pacific. South Asia has realized a decline of the poor population by more than a half from 500 million in 1990 to 216 million people in 2015 (FAO, 2018). However, a stark difference has been reported in Sub-Sahara Africa where extreme poverty is concentrated. The Poverty and Shared Prosperity report indicate an increase in the population living in extreme poverty from 278 million in 1990 to 413 million (41% of the population) in 2015 demonstrating that poverty is an increasing challenge in Sub-Sahara Africa. (World Bank, 2018). Although African has experienced two decades of accelerated economic growth, the growth has not been associated with significant poverty reduction. Based on the historical growth trend, Sub Saharan Africa risk up to 87% of the population remaining under extreme poverty 2030 and denied the opportunity to share the globally shared prosperity ((World Bank, 2018).
Evidence indicates that the world is off the track in realizing eradication of poverty by 2030. Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) indicates an alarming trend in word hunger trends in world hunger since 2014 as food insecurity becomes prevalent. The population of people facing chronic food deprivation increased to approximately 821 million by 2017. The statistics indicate 21% (256 million) of Africa population as undernourished (FAO, 2018a). The declining agricultural productivity challenge is compounded by Africa’s rising poverty challenge. Africa faces a potential up to 50% decline in crop yield productivity by 2020 and up to 90 % crop revenue decline by 2100 severing affecting the live hood of millions of people (ECA & FAO, 2018). Africa has remained reliant on food imports to meet food deficit. As Suttie (2017) indicates, Africa’s aggregate annual food import bill is estimated to increase to US$110 billion by 2025 from the current US$35billion. The increase in economic growth realized in the continent has not realized expansionary employment impact with over 60% of the working population engaging in vulnerable employment (United Nations & Economic Commission for Africa, 2017). The continent has failed to enjoy the benefits of the expansionary growth since it’s mainly driven by the commodity price boom which is an unsustainable pathway for rapid economic growth (AFdB, 2019).
Poor households are overwhelmingly concentrated in rural areas. Approximately, 78 % of the world 736 million poor people live in rural areas while 63% of the world poor work in the rural agriculture sector characterized with poor public and private in infrastructure investment (World Bank, 2015; FAO, 2018b). The rural population in Africa continues to increase constraining the already severely degraded land resources in the continent (Suttie 2017). The population is geographically concentrated in marginal and disaster-prone rural areas characterized by insufficient basic infrastructures (water, electricity, health education), low densities and limited market access. To revert the increasing poverty levels in Africa, most of the impact will emerge from activities in the rural setting.
ii. Historical Analysis
The pace of poverty and hunger reduction in Sub Sahara Africa picked in the 20th century and subdued in the 21st century. The world made substantial progress between the 1990 and 2015 following the setting of the Millennium Development Goals. In the 1990 – 2015 period global poverty declined by half, while hunger and poverty declined by 15% and 21% in the developing world. However, the decline had been uneven with the low-income countries still reporting 28% and 48% hunger and poverty prevalence by 2010. Poverty and hunger in concentrated in low-income countries that have mainly reported degrowth or growth stagnation. Countries such as DRC Congo, Burundi, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Central Africa Republic, Mozambique, Togo and Rwanda reporting 50-70% prevalence of extreme poverty (FAO, 209). In such countries, development aid had remained a profound safety net and demonstrate the complexity of eradicating poverty and hunger in Africa.
Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition report by the UN indicates an increasing prevalence of hunger in Sub Sahara Africa which reverts the progress realized in poverty eradication (ECA & FAO, 2018).
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The world recorded an increase in the population of undernourished people to 10.9 % (821 million) in 2017 from 10.5 % (784) in 2015. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for the greatest increase in undernourishment recording a high of 237 million undernourished people in 2017.
Figure 1; Source: FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO. 2017.The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017. Building resilience for peace and food security. Rome, FAO.
The negative trend in the continent has been perpetuated by a combination of the global economic recession, climate change, and civil conflicts. The Africa Development Bank notes that the widespread poverty in Africa is triggered by food insecurity. Lower levels of prevailing development in Africa increases the region's vulnerability to climate change. The region is already experiencing weather variabilities such as the 2015–16 El Niño that left the Southern Africa region in catastrophic drought and devastating flooding in Easter Africa which increased the danger of food insecurity (ECA & FAO, 2018). The 2015–16 El Niño left over 10 million people in Ethiopia in need of food and a 13.6% decline in agriculture GDP.
Hunger and poverty are strongly interlinked for the extreme poor reinforcing an intergenerational transfer of poverty. While on one hand poverty denies people access to basic services such as health care that would facilitate adequate use of food and result in hunger, hunger, on the other hand, perpetuates low labor productivity and extreme poverty by limiting family focus on…
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…of cash transfers by FAO and UNICEF demonstrates a broad range of positive economic and social impacts. For example, cash transfers eliminate barriers to health care and education services increasing future employability and productivity. (FAO (2018) identifies that transfers in the form of farm inputs have been identified to increase farm productivity and reduce food insecurity, revamping local economies in Zambia. Closing the gender gap is another instrumental approach to reducing poverty and hunger in rural Africa. According to women access to productive agricultural inputs and services could increase the farm yields by up to 30% and reduce the number of people facing hunger by 17% (World Bank, 2015).
Environmental management is the basis for the productive and sustainable rural economy. Accelerated ecological degradation, GHG emissions, and biodiversity loss limit the effectiveness of efforts of eradicating poverty (World Bank, 2015). Africa has experienced a growing population and increasing economic growth that has resulted in increasing depletion of non-renewable resources. Impact of climate change has as well imposed increased pressure on the constrained resources. Therefore, Africa would need to integrate climate-smart technologies that realize increasing crop yield and decreasing dependence on non-renewable resources (World Bank, 2015).
Effective political leadership is fundamental for accelerated poverty and hinder reduction. An effective leadership system ensures democratic institutions that give clear policy instruments and implementation. As Suttie (2017) notes, policy needs to recognize the tradeoff between the transaction costs and the long-term returns of investing in the poor and rural communities. Brazil and China are recognized as two countries to realize a reduction in rural extreme poverty by making poverty eradication as a political priority. Such a strategy enabled the two countries to focus their public policies on incentivizing rural investment to drive the rural economy. China established a Household Responsibility System that linked the farmers to the non-farm economy in the urban centers fostering market-oriented agriculture (FAO 2018).
v. Rebuttal for Opponents
Africa poverty and hunger challenge entail a mix of technological institutional, human and physical resource constraints. Africa is on a negative trajectory in the path towards eradicating poverty and hunger. While the continent continues to grow, the inequality expands since the growth accrues to the minority 10-20% due to prevalent inequalities. The continent continues to realize a population growth that is putting a constraint on the existing resources and worsening food security in the region. The continent’s population is projected to double between 2015 and 2050 to a high of 2.5 billion outnumbering the population of both India and China increasing dependency and development challenges. The challenge for Africa is breaking the structural constraints that limit the continents development trajectory. Addressing the challenge warrants great investment, but the continent lacks adequate funding. Africa has hardly made progress in transitioning the economy from a primary commodity.....
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