Poverty in Malawi has been at critical levels for decades. Of the 15.9 million Malawians, about 12 million are living below the international poverty line ($1.25 a day) and approximately 14.3 million are living on less than $2.00 a day, according to the Rural Poverty Portal.
Many Malawians work in agriculture, and it is hard for them to produce enough crop to maintain an income above the international poverty line. With parental death, disease and crop failure, the obstacles that many Malawians face are abounding. Below are 10 facts that more thoroughly explain and illuminate the pressing issue of poverty in Malawi:
- Over 90,000 Malawi individuals live with HIV/AIDS, which accounts for every one in ten adults.
- Only 65.8 percent of Malawi’s population can read and write by the age of 15, according to the CIA.
- Due to poverty, poor access to health care, disease and food shortage, the average life expectancy for a Malawian is 63 years, which is 25 years more than it was in 1960, according to The World Bank.
- There is only one doctor for every 50,000 individuals, according to the World Health Organization.
- Malawi’s economy is mainly agricultural, constituting of 80 percent of the population living in rural areas.
- The median age for Malawians is 16.4 years old.
- The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is working in harmony with Malawi’s government to promote agricultural growth in rural areas. This is an effort to reduce poverty throughout Malawi.
- About 30 percent of children in Malawi do not start primary school (which is free in Malawi). Secondary and higher education is mostly attended by those of households above the international poverty line, predominantly due to the enrollment fees.
- Malawi is one of the world’s most impoverished countries, ranking 173rd out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index.
- More than one million Malawi children are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS.
The people of Malawi face great hardships; however, with the help of NGOs like IFAD, there is hope for an increased economy and better school systems. This in turn will lead to a decrease in disease, orphaned children and overall poverty in Malawi.
– Bella Chaffey