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Suriname Poverty RateThe Suriname poverty rate is 47 percent. It is estimated that more than 6 percent of the population suffers from multidimensional poverty, lacking good health, education and standard of living.

Malnutrition is a rampant problem. Many children are hospitalized for malnutrition and suffer lasting effects that extend into adulthood. In recent years, AIDS has also become one of the primary causes of child mortality.

The education system in Suriname is also wanting. At the same time, as many teachers are poorly trained, many students, mostly boys, leave primary school at an early age. The children that leave school are often forced to work. It is estimated that 8 percent of children between 5 and 14 engage in child labor under difficult working conditions.

As for the girls that are either discouraged from attending school or leave early, many are subjected to sexual exploitation and trafficking. Both inside and outside of prostitution, violent abuse toward children is a rampant problem.

Though the Suriname poverty rate is high, the country’s per capita income is also relatively high, standing at almost $10,000. Inequality between different geographic regions and ethnic groups accounts for the coexistence of the high national income and the high poverty rate.

The Surinamese economy relies on the extraction and exportation of minerals such as alumina, bauxite, gold and oil. While the production of such commodities employs hundreds of thousands of Surinamese and has at times accounted for almost 40 percent of government revenues, the production of these goods is limited to extraction and refinement. As a result, much of the population misses out on economies opportunities.

To lower the Suriname poverty rate, the government should utilize its mineral revenues to subsidize education, health and welfare for the disenfranchised parts of the population. Such measures will serve to increase the value of Suriname’s human capital and work toward diversifying the economy away from commodity exportation.

In addition to actions the Surinamese government can take to reduce poverty in the country, a number of international organizations are already working to improve the Surinamese economy.

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), for one, has dedicated millions of dollars in loans and grants under its Low Income Shelter Program (LISP) to provide housing for underprivileged Surinamese. The program has successfully housed more than 3,000 families.

Suriname’s longtime benefactor and ex-colonizer, the Netherlands has also allocated billions of dollars over the past two decades for microcredit lending and infrastructural repair. These efforts have helped facilitate entrepreneurship and stimulate Suriname’s economy from the bottom up.

If these international developmental commitments persist, there may be hope that Suriname can achieve its Multi-Year Development goals, growing small and medium enterprises by 10 percent over the next five years and lifting thousands out of poverty.

Nathaniel Sher

Photo: Flickr

Latvia Poverty Rate

The Latvian population has faced many struggles, ranging from political violence to the deepest recession in the world when the financial crisis hit in 2008. In 2013, 32.7 percent of the population in Latvia was at risk of poverty, and that number is only increasing as time goes on. The Latvia poverty rate is extremely high, and it is the third-poorest country in the European Union.

In 2013, the Latvian government developed a policy of turning “welfare into workfare.” This is the practice of welfare being given only for jobs, like road-sweeping. Unfortunately for the government, this resulted primarily in depopulation. While Latvia has had massive amounts of emigration for many years, since this action it saw negative 14,262 net migration. This means that it had far more emigration than immigration.

The highest demographic exiting the country was people of working age, between 15 and 61. This has become a major concern for the Latvian government. Its workforce has decreased massively but unemployment rates are still quite high, resulting in a very high poverty rate.

That being said, there are ways to reduce the Latvia poverty rate, but they will take quite a lot of work from the Latvian government. There are some policies that were enacted before 2010 to address poverty but they were not very effective. There is a minimum wage in Latvia which was updated in 2009 and serves as a very indirect measure for reducing social inequality. Additionally, families are able to apply for social support, so long as they can prove that the income of each family member does not exceed 50 percent of the minimum wage for three months.

The government has not put more measures or economic programs in place for protecting the working class or the unemployed, and this will have to change immediately in order to both encourage repopulation and reduce poverty. There is also a great need for more information collection in the population. Little is known about how current poverty measures are benefiting the Latvian population — if at all.

While current measures are somewhat helpful, Latvia really needs more legislation that will limit the number of people in poverty and put in place measures for improving their economic status. There are currently no policies relating to lifting citizens up out of poverty which is particularly important because the poverty prevention methods really aren’t working. Latvia has quite a way to go before it can consider itself poverty free, but the dedication of the Latvian government and the commitment of other members of the European Union to aid them is a good place to start.

Liyanga De Silva

Photo: Pixabay

Why is Bolivia Poor

Despite Bolivia‘s heavy exportation of natural resources such as iron and natural gas that increased its economic growth during the early ’90s, the South American country is still one of the poorest countries below the equator. Thus, the question “Why is Bolivia poor?” remains.

Despite having the second most important natural gas industry in South America, its impact worldwide does not reach the top 1 percent in terms of international activities, which puts Bolivia in a situation of economic risk. On a domestic level, Bolivia’s lack of demand for resources within the country, as well as failed investments in the forestry industry, have shrunk its economic gains and profits since 2002.

Why is Bolivia poor? Bolivia’s main problem has been one that is prevalent in other countries such as Colombia, Honduras and Panamá: social inequality, which has afflicted Latin American countries for decades. However, inequality has been declining over the past decade.

Between 2008 and 2012, Bolivia’s Gini coefficient, a formula to determine a country’s level of inequality, dropped from 0.5 to a 0.45, where 0 equals perfect equality and 1 represents the highest levels of inequality. In 2014, Bolivia’s Gini coefficient decreased further to 0.13. Bolivia’s international affairs decreased its Gross Domestic Product by 6 percent during the year of 2016.

In 2016, the National Plan for Economic and Social Development (PDES) was approved. Public investments, infrastructure investments, the industrialization of natural gas and Bolivia’s 40 percent gross governmental debt are some of the areas in which the PDES will have a positive impact.

Needless to say, there is hope for Bolivia. As of now, the unemployment rate stands at 6.5 percent, one of the lower numbers in Latin America. Bolivia’s GDP has increased by 7.8 in 2017, thanks to growth in the construction sector.

UNICEF, an international NGO that focuses on children’s development around the world, has developed a partnership with Bolivia in order to implement water hygiene as well as environmental sanitation in the less developed parts of the country.

Habitat for Humanity is an organization that is also helping Bolivia, in particular by tackling slum housing and homelessness amongst Bolivian citizens. By raising money, offering volunteering and more, solutions are now a reality that are making Bolivia’s level of poverty decrease and quality of life increase at an extraordinary pace.

Paula Gibson

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Dominica

Known to be one of the most beautiful island nations in the Caribbean, Dominica is home to several lush rainforests, mountains, volcanic springs and rare plant and animal species. It is an attractive tourist destination and today much of its economy is based on tourism. However, almost 30 percent of the country lives in poverty, with three percent living in extreme poverty.

Like its neighbours, Dominica has a long history of colonization that resulted in its inclusion into the Commonwealth nations. It was also responsible for the establishment of an agricultural economy; sugarcane, coffee cultivation and timber harvests are among its main industries. After the fall of its “slave estate,” Dominica’s economic mainstay was banana production. To this day, one third of the country’s workforce is employed in the banana industry and that is one of the many causes of poverty in Dominica.

Because of its geographic location, Dominica is susceptible to annual hurricanes, which have caused its banana output to decline by almost 50 percent from 1978 to 2001. While some financial support from other countries was given to rebuild the sector, Dominica had to diversify its agricultural exports in order to rehabilitate its economy. It now exports several other fruits, flowers, soap and coffee, which have taken a long time to kick off.

Interestingly, despite being one of the poorer nations in the Caribbean, Dominica does not have a large income gap like many other countries. The majority of its 70,000 people are small peasants and there is a small, urban middle class of young working professionals. There are very few extremely wealthy Dominicans; those that belong to the current elite are generally descendants of colonial-era plantation owners. However, Dominica has recently introduced an “economic citizenship program” which allows wealthy foreigners to buy a Dominican passport for around $100,000, which may result in wealth imbalances. The program has led to an influx of foreign investment in the country, as the Dominican passport is a relatively strong one – allowing visa-free entry into over 120 countries – and has increased the country’s GDP significantly. The development of offshore financial services and construction has also mitigated some of the causes of poverty in Dominica, with the country’s economy growing by over four percent in 2006.

While the International Monetary Fund praised the Dominican government for these macroeconomic reforms and market diversification strategies, the causes of poverty in Dominica are not necessarily being addressed equitably for the entire population. However, a shift in the country’s economic platforms sets the stage for a more robust and holistic poverty alleviation program that is within reach for Dominica.

Paroma Soni

Photo: Pixabay

Venezuela Poverty RateIn a country locked the throes of a terrible economic crisis, the Venezuela poverty rate continues to rise. Eighty-two percent of the population now lives in poverty, and inflation rates are estimated to reach 680 percent by the end of this year. To make matters worse, this number is projected to rise to a whopping 2,069 percent by the end of 2018. Medicine and medical equipment has become increasingly scarce, as the public health system cannot afford to treat patients, and poverty and violent crime are reaching record levels.

So, how did a country that experienced not insignificant economic growth under Chavez, become embroiled in an unprecedented bout of hyperinflation? Rampant governmental corruption and a drop in oil prices are the major contributors. Venezuela boasts the world’s largest proven oil reserves, and, under Chavez, leveraged high gas prices to create nationwide economic growth.

According to historian Greg Grandon, Chavez saw high petroleum prices as “a way to tax the First World, and then redistribute that revenue through equitable social programs, solidarity and support for poor energy-importing nations.” However, since oil prices began falling in 2013, the nation’s dependency on oil as the center of its economy has left the country in the depths of economic collapse.

Yet another factor in the collapse, and the source of much of the corruption in government, stems from the coexistence of different currency exchange rates and the ever-growing gap between the official rates and the black market rate. The lower official rate is set at 10 bolivares/dollar. This rate is used for “essential imports” such as food, medicine and materials for domestic production of necessary goods.

In addition to this standard currency rate, there is a fluctuating black-market rate, which has risen enormously over the past several years. This rate is currently well over 1,000 bolivares/dollar and was last measured at 1,567 bolivars/dollar on Nov. 1. This yawning gulf between exchange rates has wildly devalued currency. It also provides government, business and military officials, who are provided dollars using the lower official exchange rate, to change this money on the black market to rake in obscene profits.

As the economic crisis intensifies and the Venezuela poverty rate increases, President Nicolas Maduro’s popularity has plummeted. He has responded to popular protests by removing the Congress’s legislative power, and has taken on increasingly authoritarian policies. The opposition-led Congress is understandably outraged, and has led efforts to remove Maduro from power and to substantially privatize Venezuela’s socialized industries — most notably the national oil company PDVSA.

Although many criticize the socialist policies of Venezuela, the crisis has been born of a complex network of mismanagement of currency, dropping oil prices, authoritarian political crackdown, and rampant corruption. As the crisis intensifies and the Venezuela poverty rate continues to rise, the urgency of aid and comprehensive political reform increases.

Jeffery Harrell

Photo: Pixabay

Causes of Poverty in BarbadosBarbados is a tiny island in the Caribbean. Many visit Barbados to enjoy the island’s lush greenery and warm sun. However, there are still causes of poverty in Barbados that impact the residents deeply. Locals contend with poverty on different scales, with the youth of Barbados struggling to overcome poverty.

Lack of Opportunities
The job market in Barbados is somewhat narrow, constrained by stigma and discrimination. Job seekers may be discriminated against because of their age, gender, migrant status or even their area of residence.

Job seekers are also restricted by their social networks. While those looking for jobs usually look in newspapers, with 50.7 percent seeking out newspaper advertisements, word of mouth plays a large role in landing jobs for youth. Approximately 36.3 percent used word of mouth as a tool for job hunting.

The problem with using word of mouth information is that individuals are limited to seeking jobs only through their social networks. Individuals have to expand their social networks in order to land jobs through word of mouth.

Education
Financial issues prevent youths from accessing education. Unfortunately, without access to quality education, the youth of Barbados are limited in the job market.

On the other end of the spectrum, those who are highly qualified with certifications expect to find high-paying jobs. However, when these high-paying jobs are not available because of the local economy, educated youths become discouraged in their job hunt. Approximately 21 percent of voluntarily unemployed youths did not want to work because of the stark difference between their qualifications and the availability of jobs.

At Home
When youths are unable to find jobs because of limited contacts or poor education, they remain dependents in their households. This means that there are large households with fewer resources for every member in the family.

High fertility rates and large numbers of children mean that households are fairly large already, stretching families’ financial resources. A lack of financial support from children’s fathers means that household revenues are low.

When families’ financial resources are stretched, youths are not able to economically access the education or social networks they need. This perpetuates the cycle of economic instability and families continue to face poverty.

A Solution?
In 2012, the government of Barbados established a poverty intervention scheme, titled the Implementation Stabilisation Enablement and Empowerment Bridge Programme.

Trained social workers led the program for two years, acting as household facilitators and supervisors.

The ultimate goal of the program is to encourage self-reliance and more importantly, self-introspection by families. Families can then make empowering long-term plans based on their individual situations.

The government’s implementation of such a program bodes well for the predominantly socioeconomic causes of poverty in Barbados.

Smriti Krishnan

Photo: Flickr

Montenegro Poverty Rate
Montenegro is a small Balkan country that declared independence from Serbia in 2006. Since that time, the poverty rate in Montenegro has varied rather significantly, rising as high as 11.3 percent (2006, 2012) and falling as low as 4.9 percent (2008). The most recent data available, from 2013, lists the Montenegro poverty rate at 8.6 percent.

Prior to Montenegro’s independence, the country of Serbia and Montenegro was attempting accession into the European Union. Now an independent country, Montenegro is in its own process of accession into the EU. If and when Montenegro becomes an EU member, the Montenegro poverty rate has the potential for a fairly dramatic change, due to differences in how poverty is calculated.

Montenegro currently uses an absolute poverty rate. The poverty line as reported in 2013 was €186.54 per month. This line was calculated using basic costs of life needs, consisting of food costs and non-food needs. In contrast, the EU uses a relative poverty rate calculation. The poverty line in EU member states is calculated as 60 percent of the median income.

Attempting to calculate the relative poverty rate in Montenegro to demonstrate the difference is not easy. Monstat, Montenegro’s statistical office, currently provides average income rather than median income, so determining the relative poverty rate based on median income is not immediately possible. Using markers such as the given average income and income inequality index to estimate median income suggest the poverty line would rise using a relative calculation. Using EU member poverty rates as a guideline would also seem to suggest the potential for a higher poverty rate in a relative system.

Montenegro’s foreign minister Srđan Darmanović stated earlier this year that Montenegrin accession into the EU could happen as early as 2022. Even with the relative volatility of the Montenegro poverty rate over the last decade, a sudden rise around the point of accession need not be an immediate concern if understood as a change in the calculation system.

Erik Beck

Photo: Pixabay

Causes of Poverty in Liberia

Several reasons are behind the causes of poverty in Liberia. The country has dealt with a 14-year civil war, and even after slightly recovering, it is still in a vulnerable state.

What are the causes of poverty in Liberia? The main reasons are corruption and government conflict. Corruption in the government is the major epidemic, infiltrating many of the other sectors of society. According to Transparency International, low public sector salaries and a lack of decent training create the incentive for corruption.

The country also fails to utilize its natural resources in a productive way. The country is rich with mineral wealth including iron ore, timber, diamonds, rubber and gold; however, natural resource management continues to deal with corruption and governance issues. If natural resource management can remain uncorrupted, the country can use these minerals as a way to bring in legitimate funding.

Another of the causes of poverty in Liberia is that during the wars, more than 200,000 people lost their lives. Many Liberian children were forced to fight in these wars, and have had few opportunities to adjust back to a normal civilian life. This then results in them turning to crime and a life of poverty.

An estimated 64 percent of Liberians live below the poverty line and 1.3 million live in extreme poverty, out of a population of 4.6 million, according to World Food Programme. The country depends on imports, which does not help with its agricultural markets already being integrated poorly. There is inadequate rural road infrastructures, limited smallholder participation in value chains and restrained institutional capacity of farmers’ organizations. Food security is also affecting 41 percent of the population, making chronic malnutrition high.

Liberia, however, is beginning to benefit from the work of some organizations like Mercycorps, which is bringing aid to those in poverty. It is providing water, food and teaching locals how to provide for themselves in a developing economy. It is also helping to fix Liberia’s market gaps as well as helping its economy recover. Additionally, there are organizations helping children find better lives after being soldiers.

Liberia is slowly on track to overcome poverty but ultimately needs more help. With financial assistance from other countries including the U.S and stopping the corruption, Liberia can emerge from poverty.

Chavez Spicer

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Luxembourg

Luxembourg boasts one of the highest standards of living globally, with the world’s highest per capita income of $46,591 per person. However, with one in five citizens living under the threat of poverty and social exclusion, even one of the world’s richest countries cannot escape poverty.

In Luxembourg, most people live comfortably. Since 2009, the employment rate has increased by more than 16 percent but the current unemployment rate is only 5.9 percent – well below the European average of 10.4 percent. Generous social benefits and laws condemning discrimination against women, ethnic minorities and disabled people further improve the overall quality of life in Luxembourg.

Despite these promising conditions, poverty is still an issue in Luxembourg. In 2013, the threshold for the risk of poverty amounted to approximately €1,665. During that year, about 15.9 percent of people living in the country found themselves in that category – of this group, 23.9 percent were children.

An article written by Gornick and Jantti identified Luxembourg as a high income country with disproportionately high child poverty. In the study, they found that children in Luxembourg were 20 percent more likely to be poor than the overall population.

One of the main causes of poverty in Luxembourg is having lived in poverty before. The risk of remaining poor or becoming poor for those who have previously lived in poverty is about 70 percent. On the other hand, those who have had no prior experience with poverty only face a four percent risk of entering poverty. Consequently, 60 percent of the level of state dependence is made up of those who have previously experienced poverty.

The Luxembourg Chamber of Employees identified another one of the causes of poverty in Luxembourg. They analyzed the relationship between the risk of poverty and cost of housing and found that nearly one third of tenants faced the risk of poverty. In other European countries, such as France and Germany, this risk is much lower.

One way that the Luxembourg government attempts to fight poverty and social exclusion is through the minimum guaranteed income (MGI). The MGI is given to people or households who fall below a certain threshold and its main goal is to provide sufficient means of existence and opportunities for social and professional inclusion.

Efforts such as the MGI are critical steps to improving poverty in Luxembourg. While many live comfortably and the country is prosperous in several ways, still more must be done to assist those in poverty and to lower the unnaturally high proportion of children in poverty.

Lauren Mcbride

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in Tunisia
Tunisia proved the authority of its democracy when 2010 uprisings overthrew a decade-long dictatorship. That same year, the World Bank found that the poverty rate in Tunisia had been cut in half since the start of the century. Tunisia’s GDP has doubled as it approaches 10 years since that revolution, but rural areas are still stuck in a rut of poverty.

Most economic growth is localized to coastal, urban communities. The agricultural sector only contributes 10 percent to the overall GDP, but 35 percent of the country’s population competes for that small percentage. The result is that two-thirds of the country’s poor population lives in rural, agrarian areas.

Still, Tunisia is considered a success story and role model for other countries fighting poverty. The government implemented programs to improve the national status of education, healthcare and infrastructure after the new democracy took hold in 2011, and the aggregate influence was tangible. But the disparity remains, and the poverty rate in Tunisia is as much as 30 percent higher in some rural regions.

 

The Devastating Effects of the Poverty Rate in Tunisia

 

In hard to access areas, potable water and electricity are only available to 65 percent of people. This leaves nearly half of the poor population without water or electricity. The number of women receiving prenatal care is 35 percent lower in rural areas, and infant mortality rates are significantly higher. The Tunisian government has made basic healthcare accessible to all people, regardless of income, so the adverse statistics seem to represent a different problem.

Literacy rates (a strong indicator of poverty) are just above 98 percent for males between 15-24, and near 96 percent for females of the same age across Tunisia. These are promising figures, just like the overall improvement in poverty rate in Tunisia, but again there is a disparity in rural areas. Dropout rates for primary education remain at about 50 percent for the whole country, disproportionately attributed to children in poverty, and especially to girls in rural areas. The statistical stagnancy represents a social emphasis on patriarchy rather than education, and it is more and more clear that one father’s agrarian income can no longer support a family.

Tunisia’s battle against poverty shows that change begins with people. The poverty rate in Tunisia will continue to improve as the people continue to seek self-sufficiency. The civilian uprising that created their new democracy was an inspiration to similar countries, and hope remains that societal examples within that new democracy will make education and health a greater priority in rural areas.

Brooke Clayton

Photo: Google