| poverty in
Africa | child poverty in Africa - the facts |
what are the major challenges facing Africa today? |
what is being done to help Africa? | sources
Poverty in Africa
Africa includes some of the poorest countries in the world. In much of Africa
south of the Sahara, harsh environmental conditions exacerbate the conditions of
poverty. Dry and barren land covers large expanses of this region. As the poor
try to eke out livings through farming and other subsistence practices, they
exhaust the land, using up the soil nutrients needed to grow crops. Over time
this has led to desertification, a process in which once fertile land turns to
desert. During the late 20th century, desertification contributed to famines in
a number of African nations, including Somalia, Ethiopia, and Mali. Political
instability and wars in many sub-Saharan countries have also contributed to
poverty. As a result of such factors, the number of people living in extreme
poverty in sub-Saharan Africa grew from 217 million in 1987 to more than 300
million in 1998.
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Child Poverty in Africa - the facts
200,000 child slaves are sold every year in
Africa. There are an estimated 8,000 girl-slaves in West Africa alone.
5 October, 2001 & Anti-Slavery
120,000 African children are participating in armed
conflicts. Some are as young as 7 years old.
account for half of all civilian casualties in wars in
Africa. (source: Africa 2015)
One in six African children dies before the
age of five. Most of these deaths could be prevented.
(source: Africa 2015)
Nearly one third of children in Sub-Saharan
Africa are underweight. (source: UNICEF)
sub-Saharan Africa, measles takes the life of a child nearly every
minute of every day. An effective measles vaccine costs as little as
$1 per child. (source: UNICEF)
12 and 14 million African children have been orphaned by
HIV/AIDS. (source: World Bank/UNICEF)
2 million children under 14 years old are HIV positive.
43% of children in Sub-Saharan Africa do
not have safe, accessible drinking water. (source:
64% of children in Sub-Saharan Africa do
not have adequate sanitation. (source: UNICEF)
57% of African children are enrolled in primary education,
and one in three of those does not complete school.
(source: Africa 2015)
100 boys there are only 83 girls enrolled at
primary school. (source: World Bank/UNICEF)
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are the major challenges facing Africa today?
The challenges facing Africa are daunting. Africa has the
highest proportion of its people in extreme poverty and is not on target to meet
any of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agreed at the United Nations in
2000. The MDGs are:
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty is falling, but there
are large variations in progress between regions. Asia is making good
progress, but there is little movement elsewhere and sub-Saharan Africa is
The world already produces enough food, but the key to eradicating hunger is
to ensure that ordinary people in the developing world can get access to it
and that it’s affordable. Poverty is the principal cause of hunger.
Achieve universal primary education
Number of girls out of school in Africa is the highest in the world (23m)
Promote gender equality and empower women
Having more educated women with greater rights could make the single biggest
positive difference to reducing poverty, the rate of childhood diseases and
death and the spread of AIDS in developing countries.
Reduce child mortality
Thirty years ago, one in five children in the world died before their fifth
birthday. This has now been halved to less than one in ten. Better access to
vaccinations and other basic health services and improved living standards
have contributed to a steep decline in global deaths among infants and
children over the past 30 years.
Improve maternal health
Every year, more than half a million women die from complications in pregnancy
or childbirth. Almost all of them would still be alive if they had access to a
skilled midwife or doctor in childbirth and effective emergency care for women
who have complications.
Combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases
In Africa, in 2003, some 26.6 million people were living with HIV, 3.2 million
people became infected, and AIDS killed 2.3 million.
Ensure environmental sustainability
Many of the world’s poorest people depend on natural resources for a healthy
diet, clean water, shelter, energy, and medicines. What’s more, these people
are often most vulnerable to disasters and hazards such as flooding,
landslides and pollution brought about or exacerbated by environmental
Develop a global partnership for development
The targets in the global partnership for development millennium development
goal include a fairer trading and financial system. Getting rid of barriers to
trade could lift almost 300 million people in the developing world out of
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is being done to help Africa?
Despite the challenges, there are signs of progress and more is achievable.
Importantly, Africa’s development agenda is increasingly African-led. Improved
partnerships between African and donor nations have resulted in increased aid
flows being used more effectively.
African Union (AU), supported by the
donor community, is helping to deliver many of Africa’s pre-requisites for
development; particularly in the areas of peace and security and governance.
The AU are developing the necessary structures and institutions to allow Africa
to better prevent, manage, and resolve conflict in the region.
There has been a recent major shift in African effort to address the continents
problems. The New Partnership for Africa’s development (NEPAD)
and the AU aim to tackle HIV/AIDS, reduce poverty and sustain long-term
economic growth. It’s committed to governance and promoting peace and security.
Many countries are showing signs of progress towards democracy and
governance. The African Union has established the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)
as a voluntary self monitoring mechanism for states to conform to the agreed
political, economic and corporate governance values. 24 countries have so far
signed up to participate in the APRM.
A number of countries within Africa have made real progress:
In the last five years, Mozambique has reduced poverty
from 70% to 55% and has doubled the number of children in school;
Kenya has introduced free primary education, which has
brought 1.2 million children back into school;
In Tanzania, 1000 new schools have been built and 18,000
teachers recruited. This will enable Tanzania to achieve the goal of primary
education for all in 2006 – 9 years before the target date of 2015;
Uganda has reduced HIV from 20% in 1991 to around 6.5%
in 2001. The experience of Uganda in relation to HIV/AIDS shows that with
political will the tide of an epidemic can be turned;
These are just a few examples of what can be done.
Countries in the north are recognizing that partnerships with countries based on
a commitment by both sides brings real benefits in the long term. High and
predictable levels of resources to countries that have a credible Poverty
Reduction Strategy and the political will and capacity to deliver on the
Millennium Development Goals can reduce poverty (this is the case in Ghana,
Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda and Rwanda).
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Poverty in America
million children in America live in poverty. Check out this page to find out
more information about child poverty in the country which declares itself as the
richest in the world.
Poverty in Australia
also is not immune to child poverty. One in seven Australian children are
battling the disadvantages of poverty. More information if you click the link.