Thursday, July 20, 2023

Namibia & poverty


Namibia is a a country in Southern Africa. Its population is over two million eight hundred thousand. Twenty six per cent of its population live in extreme poverty.

 The most deprivation occurs in the the rural areas.

A report in the Namibian would appear to indicate that almost half of Namibia’s population are living in poverty or extreme poverty.

Almost half of the country’s population are faced with poverty, says prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. She was speaking at the launch of the delayed sixth National Development Plan (NDP6) by the National Planning Commission (NPC).

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the government had reduced poverty from 38% to about 18%, however, matters have since worsened.

If you look at the new formula to calculate poverty, close to 50% of the population is living under poverty,” she said. Since 2016, the country experienced a macro-economic deterioration which exposed Namibia’s vulnerability to external shocks, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said.

These had a negative impact on our poverty and inequality. In fact, the gains we made in reducing poverty were almost completely wiped out,” she said.

A month ago, The Namibian reported that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said 43% of the country’s population are experiencing multidimensional poverty.

According to the UNFPA 2022 annual report, the Gini coefficient index shows that income inequality in Namibia stands at 57,2%.

The Gini index is a summary measure of income inequality, which incorporates the detailed shared data into a single statistic, summarising the dispersion of income across the entire income distribution.

The report indicates that the unemployment rate stands at 33,4%, with youths aged 15-34 taking up 46,1%, while women take up 48,5%.

The report further indicates that 46% of households are female-headed, while 41% are male-headed.

At that time, economic analyst Arney Tjaronda told The Namibian these figures are not surprising, as the cost of living has drastically increased while salaries remain low.

He said most concerning is the high unemployment rate in the country, and a job market that is unable to absorb the high number of graduates’.

An unemployment rate of over a third with young people and women being affected the most means that many Nambians are struggling under capitalism.

The World Bank notes: ‘Economic advantage remains in the hands of a relatively small segment of the population, and significant inequality continues. This lack of inclusiveness and society’s vast disparities have led to a dual economy—a highly developed modern sector, co-existing with an informal subsistence-oriented one’.

‘Namibia ranks as one of the world’s most unequal countries. Its Gini coefficient of 59.1 in 2015 was second only to South Africa. Geographical disparities in both economic opportunities and access to services are large and widening. High levels of inequality result in starkly different poverty rates across different groups, including by age and gender’.

‘Due to consistently negative per capita GDP growth since 2016, and the negative impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods, poverty rates are projected to have increased. Typically, female-headed households, less educated, larger families, children and the elderly, and labourers in subsistence farming, are particularly prone to poverty.

Capitalism is global. Capitalism is the cause of such misery. Capitalism is not the solution. Socialism is.

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