Kenya’s Casino Economy that benefits the rich and the politically strong, Ensures we are the sixth poorest Country in Africa, Report Says.

Posted: February 19, 2015 in Lifestyle, News
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KENYA is the sixth poorest country in Africa, according to a report compiled by a security think tank.

The report, prepared by South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies, says 18.4 million Kenyans (40 per cent) out of 46.3 million live in extreme poverty.

According to the World Bank, anybody earning or spending less than $1.75 (Sh160) a day is extremely poor.

ISS executive director Jakkie Cilliers said Kenya’s tremendous economic growth has benefited only the rich and not trickled down to improve the living standards of the poor.

“Kenya plays a casino economy that benefits the rich and the politically strong and penalises the poor and the less fortunate,” he said.

Releasing the report in Nairobi yesterday, Cilliers said Kenyans experience greater inequality than any other country in East Africa because investment in the economy focuses on the urban elite.

“Even with aggressive poverty reduction interventions, Kenya won’t meet its targets. But reducing inequality will boost the impact of the economic growth on the reduction of poverty,” he said.

“With pro-poor policies that try to provide social assistance and other support to rural and poor people, Kenya can fairly quickly enjoy a massive reduction while growing its economy and reducing inequality.”

According to the report, 21 million Kenyans will live in poverty in 2030 if the government does not address income distribution.

The report showed that 388 million people in Africa (33 per cent) spend less than Sh160 a day, with 272 million of them living in only 10 countries.

Nigeria, DR Congo, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Malawi and Burundi are the top 10 whose populations live in extreme poverty.

The report also showed that 197 million people in Africa are living in chronic poverty (spend or earn less than $1 or Sh91 a day).

Cilliers said only 11 African nations are likely to meet the World Bank target of less than three per cent living below the poverty line.

“Overall, however, 22 per cent of the African population, or 349 million people, may still live under $1.75 a day line by 2030,” he said.

Cilliers said current poverty reduction targets are not specific to the economic and social conditions in many individual countries.

He called on the African Union to set realistic national targets based on individual countries’ circumstances as part of its agenda of Vision 2063.

“AU should consider setting additional country-level targets, as warranted, to meet the specific needs of member countries,” Cilliers said.

-The Star

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