How Coronavirus may push 50millions Africans into extreme poverty

The problem of poverty and how to reduce it remains the most pressing dilemma in Africa as the continent with Nearly 50 million Africans could be driven into extreme poverty in the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Africa remain the poorest region in the world which looks like it could be the worst hit from the economic fallout of the crisis 50 million Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty if action is not taken. And disruptions in the food system raise the prospect of more Africans falling into hunger.

Roughly a third of the continent – 425 million people – was already expected to live below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day in 2020, the AfDB said in its African Economic Outlook, forecasting that the situation would further deteriorate.

People everywhere face risks and vulnerabilities but poor people, especially those living in rural areas dependant on agriculture and in tropical ecologies.

The health crisis and ensuing lockdowns have destroyed jobs, crippled incomes and devastated economies continent-wide.

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“Between 28.2 and 49.2 million more Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty” this year and next.

Africa to expected to suffer a major recession, with GDP forecast to contract between 1.7 percent to 3.4 percent this year.

That would be 5.6 to 7.3 percentage points lower than pre-pandemic forecasts.

Sudden or prolonged corona-virus  lock down challenge often results in a downward spiral of asset loss and impoverishment as people are forced to abandon productive activities. The relationship between ill health and poverty is complex and works in both directions: illness can cause poverty and poverty can contribute to poor health .

Late last month the International Monetary Fund forecasted that sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP would shrink by 3.2 percent, and that incomes would drop to levels last seen in 2010.

Between 24.6 and 30 million jobs would be lost this year due to the virus crisis.

Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, would see the greatest rise in poverty,

Between 8.5 and 11.5 million of its 200 million population were forecast to fall into extreme poverty this year, as a drop in oil prices compounds the economic impact of the pandemic

The Democratic Republic of Congo, where 72 percent of the 90 million inhabitants already live below the poverty line, would see between 2.7 and 3.4 million more extreme poor

People are trapped in persistent poverty which intend to experience multiple ‘capability deprivations’ concurrently. That is, they are illiterate, have inadequate  nutrition, poor human rights, and insufficient income and livelihood opportunities, which taken together drive and maintain their poverty and ensure it passes across generations couple up with  corona-virus pandemic

Rural people, many of whom work on small-scale farms, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of the crisis. It is therefore vital that the COVID-19 response addresses food security and target the rural poor.

“Agriculture contributes 65 per cent of Africa’s employment and 75 per cent of its domestic trade. “However, the rich potential of agriculture as a tool to promote food security and fight poverty is at risk from the effects of COVID-19,”

African governments have defined stimulus measures to mitigate national and regional economic impacts of COVID-19. As they do, they must remember that investments in agriculture can be up to five times more poverty-reducing than investments in other sectors.

“The effect of restrictive measures on food trade is especially worrying, in particular for food-importing countries, but also because of the shrinking export markets for the continent’s farmers.

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