Africa's depth of poverty

The African continent has, indeed, emerged as the one living in extreme poverty. The findings based on a projection by the World Poverty Clock and compiled by Brookings Institute, show that more than 643 million people across the world live in extreme poverty, with Africans accounting for about two-thirds of the total number. In Nigeria, as with other countries on the continent, that figure is projected to rise. "By the end of 2018, in Africa as a whole, there will probably be about 3.2 million more people living in extreme poverty than there are today," the researchers write. Despite being the largest oil producer in Africa, Nigeria, for instance, has struggled to translate its resource wealth into raising living standards. A slump in oil prices and a sharp fall in oil production witnessed the country's economy slide into recession in 2016. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that although growth was again beginning to rise, "more needs to be done to reduce unemployment and address poverty". But, 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 researchers note that 14 out of 18 countries where poverty is rising are in Africa, adding that if current rates persist, 90 per cent of the world's poorest will be living on the continent by 2030. Bangladesh and Indonesia are the only other non-African nations to feature among the list of 10 worst affected countries, with an estimated 17 million and 14.2 million people living in extreme poverty, respectively. Other nations in Africa to feature on the list of 10 worst affected countries include the Democratic Republic of Congo, with 60 million people; Ethiopia with 23.9 million people; Tanzania with 19.9 million citizens; Mozambique, with 17.8 million people; Kenya, with 14.7 million people; and Uganda with 14.2 million. Data compiled by the World Poverty Clock was drawn from both household surveys and new projections on country-wise economic growth from the International Monetary Funds' World Economic Outlook. Researchers noted that between January 1, 2016, and July 2018, the world has seen about 83 million people escape extreme poverty, owing in part to the introduction of internationally agreed UN Sustainable Development Goals, intended to "end poverty" by 2030. "The task of ending extreme poverty by 2030 is becoming inexorably harder because we are running out of time. We should celebrate our achievements, but increasingly sound the alarm that not enough is being done, especially in Africa," the researchers observe.

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