Poverty in Argentina
Currently, 37% of people live below the poverty line in Argentina and are struggling due to the inconsistency of prices and jobs from inflation and changes in unemployment. Poverty in Argentina affects over 17 million people in the country, learn more about the unique struggles in Argentina.

Historic Inflation and Recent Economic Disaster

Argentina has felt the effects of intense inflation since the 1980s, but in recent months has seen record increases in these rates. The year-on-year inflation rate is the highest it has been in the past 30 years, exceeding 60 points, according to Peoples Dispatch. This increase has hurt those in the lowest income bracket the most, but the poverty rate is on the rise. It is estimated that 2,800 people are forced into poverty every day.

Despite that alarming amount, economists predict more could be hurt as the inflation rate could reach 90% by the end of 2022. The instability of inflation has made prices different on a variety of items that change weekly. This hurts those struggling to afford groceries and other necessities. The recent economic instability is a huge threat to those living in Argentina.

Unemployment, the Working Poor and the COVID-19 Pandemic

World events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic further impacted poverty in Argentina. The poverty rate hit between 46% and 47% towards the end of June 2020, at the height of the COVID-19-induced shutdown. The high poverty rate was due in part to the 3.5 million jobs lost during the pandemic. In 2020, the poverty rate related to an income of 14,718 pesos, or $193, per month.

The unemployment rate dropped to 7% at the beginning of 2022, however, the poverty rate includes 28% of Argentinians who hold jobs. The research found that from 2018 to 2022 that due to inflation and a combination of currency devaluation wages lost 20% of their purchasing power. The increase in unemployment during the pandemic increased the poverty rate, but as the unemployment rate decreased, the poverty rate did not.

The effects of outside events, like war or pandemics are global, but Argentina’s sensitive economy sees drastic changes easily. Changes in habitable actions and consumption also show the increase in poverty. For example, in 2021, Argentinians consumed the lowest amount of beef per capita (47.8 kilos) since the 1920s, Peoples Dispatch reported. The changes in unemployment and the increase in the working poor are changing poverty in Argentina.

The Future of Poverty in Argentina

The IMF began working with the Argentinian government in May 2018 and has a plan to help those most at risk. This calls for actions like the central banks to be independent and protect social spending. Those in poverty in Argentina need help since they are sinking even deeper into poverty.

Additionally, in May 2022, the Total Basic Food Basket increased by 4.6%. This means that a family of two adults and two children in Greater Buenos Aires must require an income of 99,677 pesos (or $796) per month to stay above the poverty line, according to Peoples Dispatch. This increase shows how difficult it is to survive in Argentina due to the fickle movements of the economy.

Changing economy and the socioeconomic inequalities that often affect employment rates further complicate poverty in Argentina. The recent increase in inflation implies there is a strong need for stability to save those falling below the poverty line every day.

– Ann Shick
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Solving Poverty in Côte d'Ivoire
For years, people have known the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire as a bastion of religious and ethnic harmony with one of Africa’s most well-developed economies. However, an armed rebellion in 2002 split the nation in two. Even though renewed violence has intermittently interrupted peace deals, the country has slowly moved toward a political resolution. Côte d’Ivoire has seen its economy continue to flourish in recent years. The country has a population of nearly 24 million and remains the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans, the primary force driving its economy. Though poverty in Côte d’Ivoire has reduced, the country is far from eliminating it entirely. The poverty rate stands at 46.3%, and a quarter of the labor force remains unemployed. The most significant challenge for solving poverty in Côte d’Ivoire is how to translate a growing economy into social inclusion and a reduced poverty rate.

Background: Political Unrest

Côte d’Ivoire has a recent history of violent political unrest. In October 2018, conflicts over local elections resulted in the killing of 10 people. These tensions persist from conflicts in 2002 when incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo faced off with the Forces Nouvelles de Côte d’Ivoire. Conflicting ideals and values lead to a fully militant civil war from 2002 to 2004. The primary cause of the civil war was a feeling of discrimination among Muslim northerners by the politically dominant Christian southerners. 

Today, political unrest in Côte d’Ivoire is at an all-time high since the civil war as the 2020 presidential election has caused tensions to rise. There is significant uncertainty as to whether or not President Alassane Ouattara is going to run for reelection. Additionally, the International Criminal Court recently acquitted former president Gbagbo and is scheduled for release from prison. There is much speculation that Gbagbo will join the 2020 presidential race. As such, the current leading Party (Parti Démocratique de Côte d’Ivoire) and the opposition party (Front Populaire ivoirien) have established a new independent electoral commission in the hopes of easing tensions between supporters of the two sides. Despite this hopeful step, arrests of political opponents in May and clashes between law enforcement and demonstrators have heightened unrest.  

The Economy Now

Since 2011, the economy in Côte d’Ivoire has been among the fastest-growing in the world at 8% per year. Despite this, the country’s GDP growth has not increased. Instead, in recent years, Côte d’Ivoire’s GDP has declined by nearly 3%, from 10.1% in 2012 to 7.7% in 2017. Furthermore, Côte d’Ivoire ranks low in both the UNDP’s Human Development Index (170 out of 189 countries) and the human capital index score (0.35). Many poverty-related factors contribute to the low economic development rate.

The most significant challenges in solving poverty in Côte d’Ivoire are similar to those of many countries facing major poverty issues. One of the larger systemic problems perpetuating the country’s gender inequality is the secondary education completion rate, which is 42.7% for girls and 55.5% for boys. The low overall secondary education completion rate (35.5%) creates a challenge for future economic development. Also, the maternal mortality rate is high at 645 deaths per 100,000 live births, and there is a crisis of infant malnutrition. Finally, youth unemployment, which comprises people between the ages of 15 and 35, sits at 36% of the population. Poverty in Côte d’Ivoire is much deeper than economic growth, which does not directly translate to poverty reduction.   

Reducing Poverty in Côte d’Ivoire

Despite the variety of issues outlined above, Côte d’Ivoire is working toward ending poverty in the country. In 2009, the country worked in conjunction with the IMF and World Bank to set initiatives for development. The four strategic outcomes outlined in the plan were: Reestablishing the Foundations of the Republic, Transforming Côte d’Ivoire into an Emerging Economy, Social Well-Being For All and Côte d’Ivoire is a Dynamic Actor on the Regional and International Scene. Through these initiatives, Côte d’Ivoire has a robust framework for progressing not just economically, but socially as well.  

Once political unrest subsides in Côte d’Ivoire, the nation can continue to enact initiatives to end poverty. The country’s continually growing economy is a positive first step in ultimately reducing poverty. Through continued work with the IMF and World Bank, Côte d’Ivoire has the potential to flourish economically and translate those results to its impoverished people.

– Max Lang
Photo: Flickr