Nigeria has been described as one of the poorest and unequal countries in the world, with more than 80 million or 64 per cent of her population living below poverty line, overtaking India. An estimated 87 million Nigerians, or around half of the country’s population, are living on less than $1.9 (Sh191) a day. Despite being the largest oil producer in Africa, Nigeria has struggled to use its resources to raise living standards. The number of Nigerians falling into extreme poverty grows by roughly six people every minute.
Unlike Nigeria, India is well on track to meeting the target and appears green on the map. While the numbers of Nigerians falling into extreme poverty grows by roughly six people every minute, poverty in India continues to decrease. At present, an estimated 5.3 per cent of Indians, or 71.5 million people, live below the poverty line. The consumption expenditure in order to avoid poverty is set at Rs 816 (Sh1,203) per person per month in the rural areas and Rs1,000 (Sh1,474) per person per month in the urban areas.
3. Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has 60.9 million people living below the poverty line. Fewer than 40 per cent of the nearly 77 million inhabitants live in urban areas with large segments of the population living below the poverty threshold of $1.25 (Sh126) per day. Currently, the average income for a Congolese citizen is about $400 (Sh40,360). Of the negative results of the DRC poverty rate is an extremely high infant mortality rate, with one in seven newborns dying before the age of five.
A total of 23.9 million people in Ethiopia are living below the poverty line. The poorest households have become poorer than they were in 2005. High food prices make buying food more challenging for the poorest. Despite improvements, Ethiopia still has relatively low rates of educational enrollment, access to sanitation and attended births. Although it is the fastest growing economy in the region, it is also one of the poorest, with a per capita income of $783 (Sh78,973).
In Tanzania, 19.9 million people live below the poverty line. More that 80 per cent of its population, mostly living in the rural areas, are extremely poor. Roughly 42 per cent of children under five in Tanzania suffer from chronic malnutrition and 16 per cent are underweight. Poverty has declined from 28.2 per cent in 2012 to 26.9 per cent in 2016 but the absolute number of the poor has not because of the high population growth rate.
In Mozambique, 17.8 million people are living below the poverty line with about 70 per cent of its population of 28 million living and working in rural areas. Debt levels remain unsustainably high. External debt declined from 103.7 per cent of GDP at end-2016 to an estimated 85.2 per cent by end of 2017, mainly due to appreciation of the metical. Central government domestic debt levels have increased due to budget financing needs.
Seventeen million people in Bangladesh live below the poverty line. However, Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in reducing poverty, supported by sustained economic growth. It reduced poverty from 44.2 per cent in 1991 to 13.8 per cent in 2016/17. In parallel, life expectancy, literacy rates and per capita food production have increased significantly. Progress was underpinned by six per cent plus growth over the decade, reaching 7.3 per cent in 2016/2017, according to official estimates. Rapid growth enabled Bangladesh to reach the lower middle-income country status in 2015.
Kenya has been ranked eighth globally and sixth in Africa among countries with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty. At least 29 per cent (14.7 million) of the 49.7 million people consume less than $1.9 (Sh197) a day. This is a 33 per cent increase from last year’s 11 million Kenyans living in poverty. The country’s poverty escape rate stands at 0.5 people per minute, putting at risk the UN’s drive to achieve Sustainable Development Goals which aim to reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2030.
Approximately 14.2 million people in Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, are living below the poverty line out of a population of 252 million. Approximately 40 per cent of the entire population remains vulnerable of falling into poverty, as their income hover marginally above the national poverty line. The slower pace of job creation is another challenge to efforts at reducing poverty, largely affecting the 1.7 million youth who enter the workforce each year.
Uganda’s economy has grown at a slower pace in recent years, reducing its impact on poverty making 14.2 million people in its population live below the poverty line. Low business confidence, the ongoing strife in South Sudan and subduing of segments of exports and high credit costs all continue to weigh on private domestic investment. More Ugandans have slipped into poverty with the number of poor people increasing from 6.6 million in 2012/13 to 10 million in 2016/17.