Report points to Uganda’s snail pace in poverty fight
Posted Thursday, October 24 2013 at 01:00
Uganda may not achieve the 3 per cent global target of poverty reduction set by the World Bank.
The rate of poverty reduction in African countries, including Uganda, is still very slow, a World Bank report shows.
Although Uganda’s growth rate has improved, the poverty remains high above the new World Bank global poverty level of 3 per cent by 2030 in African countries.
Senior Research Fellow at Economic Policy Research Centre Ibrahim Kasirye told the Daily Monitor that globally, the target is achievable as the World Bank has to focus on the two biggest countries China and India. “However, in Uganda, the target may not be met due to a large proportion of chronically poor households—whose poverty rates are not reducing as the rate of general poverty declines. Government has proposed to deal with the chronically poor by advancing cash transfers through the SAGE programme,” he said.
Six months ago, the board of governors for the World Bank Group laid a foundation for a social movement by endorsing two goals and declaring that the Bank can end extreme poverty by 2030. Seventeen years to the deadline for African countries achieve the 3 per cent, the new World Bank report: Africa Pulse indicates that by 2030, Uganda’s poverty level will stand at 6 per cent 2030.
Currently, there are more than 7 million Ugandans who are chronically poor found in all regions of the country. Dr Kasirye said: “Less than half of the chronically poor in Uganda are reached by this cash transfer SAGE grant.
Without a nationwide programme consistently targeting this destitute population for an extended duration e.g. 10 years, Uganda may not achieve the 3 per cent global target set by the World Bank.” Dr Kasirye said overall poverty rates (head count ratio) stand at 24 per cent for Uganda.
The report says economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is strong with growth projected at 4.9 per cent in 2013. Almost a third of countries in the region are growing at 6 per cent and more.
Prof Augustine Nuwagaba of Makerere University, said while Uganda has had high economic growth over the last two decades, the high economic growth has not been inclusive with few people benefiting from the high economic growth.
“At the time of setting the goal of reducing poverty by half, Uganda’s poverty level was 56 per cent in 1992 and the goal for Uganda to reduce it by a half which is 28 per cent. Uganda’s current poverty level is 24.5 per cent below the half target of 28 per cent, which is very good,” he said.