Lives of chil­dren in poverty set to worsen

Sub-Sa­ha­ran kids will ac­count for 90 per­cent of global to­tal by 2030

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KARISHMA DIPA karishma.dipa@inl.co.za @Kar­ish­ma_Dipa

THERE are more poor chil­dren in sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa than any other re­gion in the world, with th­ese young­sters mak­ing up a stag­ger­ing 53 per­cent of the global to­tal.

Th­ese star­tling fig­ures are part of a re­cent study com­mis­sioned by Save the Chil­dren from the Over­seas De­vel­op­ment In­sti­tute (ODI).

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port ti­tled “Child poverty, in­equal­ity and de­mog­ra­phy” the lev­els of poverty are only ex­pected to get worse for the chil­dren liv­ing in this re­gion, which in­cludes South Africa.

It is ex­pected that by the year 2030, the young­sters in this re­gion will ac­count for 90 per­cent of the the 167 mil­lion chil­dren glob­ally liv­ing on less than the thresh­old for mea­sur­ing ex­treme poverty which is a mea­gre $1.90 a day or roughly about R25.83.

Mean­while, kids in south Asia are the sec­ond most af­fected by poverty as they make up 32 per­cent of the global to­tal.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, it is es­ti­mated that more than three-quar­ters of a billion (767 mil­lion) peo­ple were es­ti­mated by the World Bank to be ex­tremely poor in 2013, of which 385 mil­lion (half) are chil­dren.

“Be­cause poorer fam­i­lies have more chil­dren, chil­dren are twice as likely as adults to live in ex­treme poverty, with ex­treme poverty rates of 19.5 per­cent for chil­dren, against 9.2 per­cent for adults,” the re­port found.

The chief ex­ec­u­tive of Save the Chil­dren South Africa Gugu Nde­bele re­it­er­ated that child poverty was a vi­cious cy­cle.

Be­ing poor makes it less likely that you’ll learn in school, more likely that you’ll fall ill, and ex­poses chil­dren to much higher risks of ne­glect, abuse and ex­ploita­tion dis­ad­van­tages that mil­lions of chil­dren carry into adult­hood and pass on to the next gen­er­a­tion.”

She added that this was un­fair and hugely costly for so­ci­eties.

“As our 2016 cost­ing study re­vealed, vi­o­lence against chil­dren costs South Africa bil­lions of rands in GDP each

There is no ex­cuse for any child to grow up in poverty

year.”

Nde­bele said smart in­vest­ments were a way to break the cy­cle of poverty.

“By mak­ing smart in­vest­ments now, we can break the in­ter­gen­er­a­tional poverty trap, and lay the foun­da­tions for a more sta­ble and pros­per­ous world. In an age of un­prece­dented re­sources and know-how, there is no ex­cuse for any child to grow up in poverty.”

The re­port comes ahead of this week’s an­nual gath­er­ing of world lead­ers in Davos, Switzer­land, at the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum, where the theme is Re­spon­sive and Re­spon­si­ble Lead­er­ship.

The need for an in­ten­si­fied fo­cus on the United Na­tions’ Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals, in­clud­ing the erad­i­ca­tion of poverty, is ex­pected to be an im­por­tant part of the dis­cus­sions ahead of a year of po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic un­cer­tainty.

PIC­TURE: TRACEY ADAMS

NO END: Home­less peo­ple liv­ing un­der Lans­downe Bridge spoke about how they ended up on the streets and how they would be spend­ing Christ­mas. In the pic­ture is 4-year-old Asia van Ree­nen.

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