305 million African children will be living in extreme poverty by 2030: Report

New British think tank report suggests cash transfers, access to basic services and redistributive public finance can help in curtailing child poverty

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Friday 30 August 2019
African girl child. Photo: Getty Images

More than half (55 per cent to be precise) the world's children living in poverty — on less than $1.90 a day — will be in Africa by 2030, claimed an August 2019 report by British think tank Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

The ratio will be thrice of what it was in 2000. Even in 2018, the number was 43 per cent. In effect, the United Nations-mandated sustainable development goal (SDG) No.1 — to eradicate extreme poverty will be broken.

The UN lists a number of causes for child poverty in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions:

  • Low income levels
  • Wider deficits in human capital
  • Insufficient and unequally distributed economic growth
  • Inadequate access to clean water

A high-level UN forum on sustainable development is slated in the last week of September.

Despite child poverty being a persistent problem in Africa, few governments on the continent have identified it as a primary policy concern, the ODI report underscored. In most cases, specific issues of poverty among children were subsumed within overall poverty reduction strategies, the report added.

Child poverty will also come in the way of meeting at least four other SDGs: nutrition, child survival, education and gender equality, the ODI report, based on World Bank projections, claimed.

For instance, of the 115 million children to face the prospect of stunting in 2030, 61 million would be in sub-Saharan Africa.

By 2030, 7.4 million children in sub-Saharan Africa will drop out of primary schools, and 14.3 million of secondary schools.

The report suggests critical areas where public policies need to respond to child poverty. These include cash transfers, access to decent-quality basic services (education, health, nutrition and clean water and sanitation) and redistributive public finance to support these investments.

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