Uzbekistan Poverty RateAfter separating from the Soviet Union in 1924, Uzbekistan is finally getting its economic footing. This country has struggled with transitioning to a market economy, but it has finally found a solution. Because of this, Uzbekistan’s poverty rate has slowly been decreasing over the years. It has declined from 33 percent in 2004 to its current rate of just 12.8 percent in 2017.

Although Uzbekistan has successfully decreased its poverty rate, the country still faces the challenge of creating more jobs to keep the poverty rate down. Many urban cities – where most of the population live – lack adequate employment opportunities. An unsteady unemployment rate, high cost of basic necessities such as food and low wages are major factors contributing to the poverty rate in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan boasts 92.3 points out of 100 for food production stability and 88.5 points for quality, meaning the country does not have a problem producing high-quality food products. The problem is that the low wages plus the high cost of food mean many residents cannot afford to buy this high-quality food. In fact, 75 percent of the population has a low income. Because of this, the country reports high rates of iron, folic acid and vitamin A deficiencies in its citizens living in poverty.

Thanks to the overall economic growth, a decrease in unemployment and a rise in the labor force have contributed to the decrease in the Uzbekistan poverty rate. In fact, the GDP has steadily increased in the last decade. In 2016, the GDP was estimated at $67.22 billion, a rise from 2014’s $63.067 billion.

Uzbekistan’s poverty rate now ranks seventh compared to its neighbors. It follows countries such as Afghanistan (39.1 percent), Armenia (29.8 percent), and Georgia (20.1 percent).

Although Uzbekistan has a long way to go to completely eradicate poverty, Uzbekistan’s poverty rate has significantly decreased over the years. Continuing to create suitable jobs for urban residents while increasing the GDP will help the country maintain its steady poverty decline.

Amira Wynn

Photo: Flickr

restricted labor force in india
While stories of India’s gender gap have been in the media spotlight in past years, a recent census shows the depth of the inequality. India is rated 101 out of a 136 country survey for gender disparity, with lower economic opportunities and a lower literacy rate. With a population of over a billion, nearly 160 million women are estimated to be restricted to domestic work, many of whom are of working age.

With a restricted labor force in India, the capacity for growth and development is hindered. Additionally, the options women do have are limited by unequal access to education and training. While this problem has been acknowledged, its scope was underestimated. Sociologists hope that governmental encouragement of women in the workforce can help reduce illiteracy and poverty among women.

However, even women who are employed are more likely to be “vulnerably employed” than their male counterparts. This term, used by an ILO study to describe nearly 84 percent of South Asian women, refers to the risk these workers face: seasonal employment and more easily terminated services leaves them with little job security. Additionally, these workers perform mostly domestic services, a trend which consistently reinforces the patriarchal hierarchy in India.

With job security being a problem for women, the government is hoping that opening up more opportunities in the public sector, now dominated by men, can have an equalizing effect for the women of India. With women and girls being among the most disadvantaged in the world, employing them and fostering growth in education and literacy is in the best interest for 21st century India.

For as large of a nation as it is, the hindrances on the labor force have not allowed India to realize its potential. For the generations of women now and those in the future, women must have the opportunity to come out of the domestic sphere and into the working world.

– Kristin Ronzi

Sources: Silicon India, ISP News
Photo: Worldbank

India: Unseized OpportunityRecent articles have been calling attention to the success of China in reducing the number o her citizens living in extreme poverty, a line demarcated at earnings of less than $1.50 a day. Today, 680 million fewer Chinese live below the extreme poverty line than did thirty years ago. This drastic reduction is largely attributed to the massive urbanization China has undergone since the 80s, with millions of impoverished rural Chinese moving to cities to seek out jobs, mainly in manufacturing. And while these workers may now still live in poverty, they at least now are above the extreme poverty line.

So what then is going wrong with China’s neighbor across the Himalayas? India today has nearly the same number of impoverished citizens as it did thirty years ago, 400 million. And while that may be a drop in percentage, as India’s population has boomed, it doesn’t exactly represent a giant leap forward.

China and India have paralleled each other for some time with regards to population, but that reflection is at an end, with China’s population now trending downwards, while India’s continues to rise. So is India poised to become the next China and take over manufacturing duties for the world? It is true that there’s a shift occurring in China. The labor force is shrinking while wages increase, and as the country continues to increase its global economic presence many manufacturing jobs in China will soon be moving elsewhere. Cumbersome bureaucracy, however, and a lack of suitable firms and factories, may prevent India from competing for these 85 million manufacturing jobs. Other Southeast Asian countries already have the infrastructure in place and are absorbing some of the demand for cheap manufactured goods as China’s economy shifts. India is in danger of missing out or being bypassed as this opportunity presents itself.

The size of India’s workforce is poised to surpass that of China within the next few years. The question that lingers though is whether these millions will have somewhere to turn. India could well experience the next boom and emulate the growth of China, but the necessary reforms have been slow in coming.

The opportunity is there, but it’s anyone’s guess whether ‘Made in China’ will become ‘Made in India’ anytime soon.

David Wilson

Sources: The Economist
Photo: IBT