While trends in the rest of the world show a reduction in poverty levels compared to 20 years ago, Malawi and the rest of Africa are getting poorer.
This is according to the African Social Development Index—ASDI whose findings reveal that poverty, fueled by inequality, remains the single most driver of human exclusion in Africa.
Women, youth and rural communities bear the most of human exclusion, the report released by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has said.
The ASDI is a tool developed to help member States track and measure human exclusion and inclusion for structural transformation.
The southern Africa ASDI report comprises of eight countries including Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia. There are variations between and within countries.
The report says here in Malawi there is higher human exclusion in cities than in rural areas with poverty and youth unemployment as major drivers.
The report also reveals that exclusion is predominantly a women affair. Women and girls are affected differently from their male counterparts, which critically affect their future development and ability to participate in social, economic and decision-making processes.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development Goodall Gondwe recently warned that Malawi and the rest of Africa cannot waste much more time on development as poverty is rising.
“I am almost eighty years now and I have seen how much we have tried to develop and failed. When the colonialists left us deliberately in the early 1960s we thought we could industrialise and develop faster but we have failed. We need to act fast and develop our countries to lift the people out of poverty,” said Gondwe.
Gondwe said he feels ashamed every time he goes to his village to see people living in grass-thatched houses and drinking water with animals from rivers and wells.
“It is shocking. I can have a television, good furniture in my house, but if the majority cannot access the basic things in life then we are failing our job. More people are living the way people lived 40 years ago due to poverty and it is not on.
Gondwe said it pains him that countries that have developed have used resources from Africa to develop, yet Africa is failing to uplift itself from poverty.
Takyiwaa Manuh, ECA director for social development policy division, believes that the ASDI lays a firm foundation for monitoring sustainable development as envisioned in Agenda 2063 where member States have collectively placed a high premium on inclusive development as one of the central pillars of Africa’s structural transformation. n