Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pervasive Poverty in Swaziland

With a population of about 1.1 million, Swaziland has over 759 000 people living below the poverty line.48 per cent of the population lived on less than US $ 1 per day which translates to about E7.50 in local currency while 78 per cent lived below US $ 2 per day. The United Nations Complementary Country Analysis which was published in April this year blames this problem to the inequalities in the distribution of wealth in the country and the HIV/AIDS scourge where the country remains with the highest HIV prevalence in the world.

Income distribution remains skewed, with 56 per cent of wealth held by the richest 20 per cent of the population, while the poorest 20 per cent of the population owns less than 4.3 per cent.

HIV /AIDS translates to an estimated loss of 20 years of life expectancy in the country.

20-25 per cent of Swazi households are food insecure.

29 per cent of children under the age of five are showing signs of stunting which is an indication of malnutrition over an extended period.

The mortality rate has risen dramatically, with maternal mortality increasing from 229 deaths per 100 000 births in 1996 to 589 per 100 000 in 2006.

In Swaziland there is limited access to and control of productive assets such as land and water for sustainable livelihoods for the poor, and inadequate capacity to participate in policy making and decisions.The UN noted that physiological and social deprivation which includes risk, vulnerability, lack of autonomy, powerlessness and lack of respect was prevalent in the country.

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