Number of East Africa’s poor grows to 53 million

The growth of poverty is more concentrated in slum areas like the one above in Kampala. Despite unprecedented economic growth, inequality rates are soaring across sub-Saharan Africa, according to a report which investigates income inequality in Kenya and seven other African countries. FILE/PHOTO

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The number of poor East Africans has grown from 44 million to about 53 million people.


The number of East Africans living below the poverty line has increased from 44 million to 53 million people, according to a new report.

The report dubbed ‘State of East Africa 2012’ indicates that the number of people living below the poverty line has increased despite efforts by member states to challenge the vice as a block.
“Poverty continues to grow in the region even as member states apart from Burundi and Kenya report a reduction in the share of people living below the poverty line.

Amb Richard Sezibera said: “ Even as leaders and institutions, in both the corporate and political arena, embrace good governance and paying close attention to the dictates of sustainable development, poverty continues to persist.”

The Report conducted by the Society for International Development, examines various trends in the region since 2006 across six main parametres, including the people of East Africa in terms of population growth, natural resources and human resource development.

Other parametres include infrastructure, economic, and political and governance. Amb Sezibera said East Africa continues to be plagued by severe drought and famine as well as an unbalanced food production and trade regime.

In regard to inequality that is both persisting and deepening within the region, Amb Sezibera said the report found an interesting trend of the region’s economies tending to grow at a slower pace compared to population.

The report also notes that East Africa has made some headway in improving infrastructure through extending road networks, dealing with ports challenges as well as investing in air transport.

Mr Eriya Kategaya, Uganda’s minister for EAC affairs, said there was need to create a critical mass of people who should take forward the issue of regional integration as well as implementing the region’s development process.

He said: “The EAC project is a people-centered one thus it cannot be left to the politicians and bureaucrats alone.”