Malawi has reduced extreme poverty levels by at least 4 percent between 2011 and 2017, a recent report by the National Statistics Office (NSO) shows.
NSO released the latest Integrated Household Survey (IHS4) report Tuesday in Lilongwe.
According to the new report, the most significant decline in ultra-poverty levels was registered in the country’s rural areas compared to the urban.
“Rural areas indicate a decline from 28.1 percent in the year 2010/2011 to 23.8 percent in the year 2016/2017,” reads part of the report.
“Urban Malawi shows a slight decline from 4.3 percent to 4.1 percent, indicating an overall national decline from 24.5 percent to 20.1 percent.”
The Integrated Household Surveys aim at providing updated information on various aspects of welfare and economic status of Malawians, which is critical in the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies.
“The poverty numbers enable government to design and target relevant policies for various segments of society in line with the country’s medium development framework,” said Peter Simbani, acting chief director in the Department of Economic Planning and Development.
He further said the number also helps government to respond to various shocks such as droughts and floods, which often lead to macroeconomic instability.
Simbani cited the drought and floods that hit the country in 2010 and 2016, respectively, as some of the emerging challenges affecting the economy and people’s livelihoods.
“These shocks had a direct impact on agricultural production, which is the main contributor to our gross domestic product [GDP]. As a result, the economy grew at a slower pace from 6.2 percent in 2014, 3.3 in 2015, to 2.7 in 2017. So, it is important to understand the poverty numbers within that context,” he said.
NSO’s assistant commissioner of statistics, Lizzie Chikoti, who was also survey coordinator said the decline in poverty levels among the rural masses was due to government’s social protection programmes.
She said: “Preliminary analysis suggests that some of government’s social protection programmes and the post-2016 food security responses have reduced the adverse effects of drought on welfare among eligible extremely poor households.”
The first Integrated Household Survey (IHS1) was conducted in 1997/1998, the second in 2004/2005, the third in 2010/2011 the fourth in 2016/2017 with a five-year gap in between.