Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ghana and Poverty

Ghana's economy has witnessed steady growth over the last 30 years, economists say, but they have raised concerns over mounting inequality, which now sees the richest Ghanaians consuming 6.8 times more food than the poorest, up from 6.4 in 10 years ago.

Around a third of all national consumption is attributed to the wealthiest 10 per cent in the West African country, the poorest 10 per cent consume just 1.72 per cent, according to the Ghana Poverty and Inequality report produced this year.

The growth rate among the two groups has witnessed positive trends since 1990s, but the poor's growth rate has been lower than the wealthiest groups, Professor Andy Mckay from the economics department of University of Sussex, said. "Looking at consumption levels, we see that the gap between the poorest 10 per cent and the richest 10 per cent of the population has been on the rise and has also increased since 2006," Mackay said. "We also found that the average consumption of this wealthiest group increased by 27 per cent between 2006 and 20013, whereas for the poorest it only increased by 19 per cent, meaning growth for the richest group was over 1.4 times greater than for the poorest in this period." The increase in inequality, the report said, has dampened poverty reduction efforts.

The report also says child poverty is higher than the overall poverty and is also greater among farming households than any other group. This implied many rural children lacked access to good diet, education, health services and good drinking water. "We estimate that in Ghana, a child is almost 40 per cent more likely to live in poverty than an adult," McKay said, and "this inequality has risen substantially from the 1990s when children were only 15 per cent more likely to be poorer than adults."

The three regions in north of the country – northern, upper east and upper west – now have the highest levels of poverty. The upper west has the highest level of inequality and largest increase in inequality since the 1990s, while the lowest level of inequality is found in the greater Accra region.

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