Sub-Sahara Africa on tail end of child poverty war

Monday, November 2nd, 2020 00:00 |
A father washing hand of his son and those of his neighbours children at the big Mombasa Slum Bangaldesh. Photo/PD/NDEGWA GATHUNGU

Kenya and other sub-Sahara Africa countries lag behind in addressing cases of children living in extreme poverty accounting to 234 million compared to 356 million globally, Unicef report has said.

 Unicef estimates that in 2017, 17.5 per cent of children in the world (356 million) younger than 18 years lived on less than Sh200 per day.

 The report dubbed Global Estimate of Children in Monetary Poverty published by the World Bank and Unicef added this was opposed to 7.9 per cent of adults ages 18 and above.

 “In 2017, sub-Sahara Africa accounted for two thirds of extremely poor children, and South Asia another 18 per cent,” part of the report stated.

 The 2019 Kenya Bureau of Statistics Census shows that the population aged 0-19 years stands at 19 million out of 47 million Kenyans.

 It added that the number of children living in extreme poverty declined by approximately 29 million between 2013 and 2017, which was a gain in implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 1.2.2 ending poverty by 2030.

 Though the number of children living in extreme poverty fell in all regions, things are different in sub-Saharan Africa, where they are estimated to have increased from 170 million in 2013 to 234 million in 2017.

 Sub-Saharan Africa has both the highest rates of children living in extreme poverty at just under 45.8 percent, and the largest share of the world’s extreme poor children, at 65.8 percent.

 Report said two out of three extreme poor children in the world now live in sub-Saharan Africa. 

“Since countries without data such as Somalia and Eritrea are not included in the analysis, the real share could be even higher,” the report stated.

 Of all the geographic regions, South Asia has the second highest share of children living in extreme poverty, at 10.2 percent, and accounts for 18.1 percent of the world’s extremely poor children.

 Unicef notes therefore 84 percent of extremely poor children in the world reside in either sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia.

 These estimates are based on the Global Monitoring Database (GMD) of household surveys compiled in Spring 2020 and consist of surveys from 149 countries that are also used for the official World Bank poverty estimates.

 Because the estimates pertain to 2017, they do not consider the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 IT describes the characteristics of children living in poverty and dis-aggregates the analysis by geographic region, income group, and residence in a fragile or conflict-affected country.

 Age group, gender, location, household characteristics, and the alternative poverty lines of Sh300 and Sh500 per day also present the profile of extreme poor children.

 “This information will be useful for governments and all partners working to improve the lives of the poorest children and their families,” the report noted.

 The findings suggest that children were still disproportionately more likely to be in households living under Sh200 per day in 2017 compared to adults (17.5 per cent vs 7.9 per cent).

 This is a moderate improvement over 2013, when it was estimated that 19.5 percent of children and 9.2 percent of all adults were living under Sh200 per day.

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