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Poverty Reduction in Sudan
Sudan is a Northeast African nation that looks to the Red Sea, with a population that now stands at 45 million. Sudan as a nation has faced extreme adversity throughout its past, as the occupation of Sudan by Britain and Egypt until 1956 manifested a series of civil wars that have ravaged the nation. Today sees Sudan in a dire situation, an ongoing humanitarian crisis has now resulted in a state of turmoil – with poverty reduction in Sudan now representing one of the global priorities for humanitarian institutions to tackle.

Poverty in Sudan

Poverty reduction in Sudan today, represents one of the most challenging obstacles for the nation, as well as global aid institutions to tackle. The current situation in Sudan is a multifaceted issue, according to UNICEF: “COVID-19, flooding, rising food prices, conflict and disease outbreaks have left 13.4 million people – more than a quarter of Sudanese – in need of life-saving aid.” As of 2020, roughly 77% of the population of Sudan was living under the poverty line.

Several factors represent the causes of the current situation in Sudan. Firstly, a prominent history of civil war and conflict in the nation has caused untold bloodshed across the span of decades. Secondly, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would have a detrimental effect on the people of Sudan, as economically, the pandemic would further escalate the outstanding issues of low-wage income across the nation. Thirdly, after South Sudan gained its independence in 2011, a substantial number of Sudanese and South Sudanese were displaced as a result of the conflict.

Efforts to Reduce Poverty in Sudan

Humanitarian efforts in Sudan to tackle the ongoing and escalating crisis have remained one of the leading priorities in recent times. Leading financial global institutions such as The World Bank, have aided Sudan’s situation in setting up initiatives and projects that provide relief. The Sustainable Natural Resources Management Project, for example, which concludes in 2023, has provided invaluable assistance in promoting sustainable agriculture to provide much-needed water access to communities.

UNICEF has also played a vital role in poverty reduction in Sudan. According to data from the 2014 Household Budget and Poverty Survey, child poverty rates rose to 85% in 2020. To combat the extremely high rate of child poverty within Sudan, UNICEF introduced the Mother and Child Cash Transfer Plus initiative. This program helps to provide the most basic necessities to newborns and mothers, providing financial support, “health care, nutrition, water and sanitation, and child protection.”

In 2021, UNICEF released a Humanitarian Relief Statement highlighting the effectiveness of the important assistance provided. Among the most notable successes were increased access to education, improved sanitation and reduction in malnutrition.

The Future

Due to the unstable political situation that has enveloped Sudan over the past couple of years, the means of supplying humanitarian aid to Sudan has intensified. However, with growing hope that the situation has a solution, humanitarian efforts appear to represent the most viable option for poverty reduction in Sudan.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is currently in the process of attaining funds for its Humanitarian Response Plan. As of September 2022, the plan requires a further 68.5% of funding to meet its $1.9 billion total. The plan consists of 233 projects and will aim to reach 10.9 million people in 68 localities. As outlined in the plan, the three primary strategic objectives are to provide life-saving assistance and prevent mortality, to provide a greater service of basic amenities to vulnerable people and through humanitarian action, to lessen protection risks and needs.

– Jamie Garwood
Photo: Flickr

hunger and povertyPresident Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe announced that the government has committed itself to end hunger and poverty in the country by expanding and improving its agricultural strategies. The president made this announcement at a United Pre-Food Systems Summit Dialogue hosted by the president of Malawi. Zimbabwe was one of many African countries that receive representation at the Summit.

Hunger in Zimbabwe

In the past two decades, farmers in Zimbabwe have struggled to feed the entire nation. In 2014, Africa Renewal reported that 2001 was “the last time Zimbabwe produced enough maize to meet its needs.” The reason for the lack of substantial produce is a deficit of financial support for the agriculture system in the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened the inconsistency of agricultural produce. This is prevalent in the recovery of agriculture as a result of improved control of COVID-19 cases in the country. Food inflation during May 2021 was at 179% and records determined that prices were at a 0% to 20% decrease, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Progress Toward Ending Hunger

While the agriculture industry in Zimbabwe may be on the mend since the pandemic, there is still work that needs to occur. For example, 2021’s Global Report on Food Crises has found that there has been no recent progress toward the goal of reaching “zero hunger” in the world by 2030.

This is one of the motivating factors behind President Mnangagwa’s decision to end hunger and poverty in Zimbabwe. He claims that Zimbabwe’s best strategy requires that “institutions of higher learning must be roped in to offer innovation that climate-proofs the vital agriculture sector,” as the Zimbabwe Chronicle reported.

Higher-learning institutions can provide farmers and agricultural members with the knowledge of how to better cultivate the food they need. The institutions can also give resources for financial assistance, equipment access, lessons on nutrition and strengthening strategies within Zimbabwe’s food systems. With this strategy, the president believes that the agriculture system in Zimbabwe will be able to grow.

Boosting Zimbabwe’s Economy

As evidence suggests, the growth of agriculture and food systems in Zimbabwe is the key to boosting the entire economy. President Mnangagwa explains that “the present economic blueprint” and the country’s agriculture and food systems development plans “situates the agriculture sector as having a critical role in the overall development and growth of the economy.” He says further, “This is anchored on food and nutrition security, import substitution, exports generation, employment creation and the raising of household incomes.”

The positive development of agriculture in Zimbabwe is the key to ending hunger and poverty throughout the country. Agriculture provides citizens with food security and boosts the economy with exports, sales and employment. Thus, if the president’s plan falls into place as described, it could bring about a positive change for Zimbabwe, contributing to reduced global hunger and poverty.

– Riley Prillwitz
Photo: pixabay

Poverty in Mozambique
On March 14, 2019, a massive storm made landfall on Mozambique’s coast bringing heavy rains, flooding and chaos. The storm hit Beira, the fourth largest city in the country, hardest. With winds blowing over 105 miles per hour and torrential rains following it, Cyclone Idai became one of the most destructive storms in the past few years. Shortly after, Cyclone Kenneth struck the northern part of Mozambique with 140 mph winds and even heavier rainfall, creating more damage to the infrastructure in the region. Severe weather has affected all aspects of life in the country, and in particular, those living in poverty in Mozambique.

Mozambique is one of the poorest nations in the world with a GDP per capita of roughly $502. Although the poverty rate decreased from 59% to 48%, inequality still exists in the region between urban and rural areas. According to the World Bank, roughly 80% of poor people in Mozambique live in rural areas. Extreme weather conditions like cyclones or flooding exacerbate these inequalities. Because of this, the aftermath of these harsh storms more heavily affects people living in poverty.

4 Ways Extreme Weather Affects Poverty in Mozambique

1. Extreme Weather Destroys Local Infrastructure: Cyclone Idai caused more than $1 billion in damage to infrastructures like roads, bridges and dams in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The storm destroyed roughly 100,000 homes and 1 million acres of crops as well and it heavily damaged 90% of the infrastructure in the port city of Beira upon impact. Hospitals, schools and businesses could not withstand the storm’s high wind speeds, even though people built them to hold up against 75 mile-per-hour winds.

Many cities in Mozambique did not have the resources to combat these storms, making the likelihood of the preparedness of rural areas for these disasters significantly lower. For the most part, solving the issue of poverty in Mozambique came second to disaster relief. The Post Disaster Needs Assessment stated that the country would need $3.2 billion for reconstruction and recovery efforts. Thankfully, however, developing partners have already pledged up to $1.2 billion to help begin the process of recovering the lost infrastructure.

2. Extreme Weather Displaces Citizens from Their Homes: The storm affected roughly 3 million people, and about 1.5 million were children. Just outside of the city of Pemba, the destruction of mud houses forced roughly 15,000 people to move to overcrowded shelters or stay outside. This displacement made relief efforts even more difficult and urgent. As the storm stranded many people outside of their homes, they required more time to administer survival equipment and begin rebuilding processes. Many rural citizens in Mozambique will not only have to rebuild their homes, but also have to handle the economic burden of the loss of their arable land.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has been working tirelessly and assisting more than half of these people in isolated and urban areas. The number of people living in shelters in the Sofala Province decreased from 16,600 people to 12,812 people in seven days. Although it is a slow process, these relief efforts are making a significant impact.

3. It Increases the Spread of Diseases: One of the major effects of the two most recent cyclones has been the increase of cholera cases spreading across the country. Due to contamination of clean drinking water by flooding, there are reports of more than 3,000 cases in Mozambique alone. Many shelters became very crowded after these natural disasters, which only increased the probability of cholera and other diseases like malaria spreading.

Luckily, there was a massive campaign by UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, Oxfam and other relief agencies to vaccinate people against this outbreak. These organizations distributed around 900,000 doses of the vaccine to high-risk areas around Beira. However, this outbreak heightened the effects of extreme weather and had a dangerous effect on the lives of many people.

4. It Halts Agricultural Production: A large part of Mozambique’s economy revolves around agriculture. This industry contributes to more than a quarter of its GDP and employs roughly 80% of its labor force. This leaves the country’s economy very susceptible to extreme weather damages. When disasters hit, they impact the poorer populations living in rural areas the most.

Cyclone Idai destroyed 50% of the country’s annual crops, which are the main source of income for a lot of people. If extreme weather patterns of this force continue, a food scarcity crisis might begin in the country, and the economy might suffer those effects as well. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been adamant about focusing relief efforts in Mozambique as a top priority. FAO has called for $19 million to support heavily affected regions for three months to resume food production and assist fishing communities. By fulfilling this request, these areas can begin the process of rebuilding these vital industries.

For years, poverty in Mozambique has been a persistent problem for many people living in rural areas. Recently, extreme weather events have become increasingly more powerful and destructive. Various organizations are providing relief efforts that make a huge difference in the region such as the U.N.’s International Disaster Relief System and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). However, rebuilding efforts from this cyclone is far from over. Disaster preparedness is now becoming a focus for the government regarding infrastructure improvements. In order to end poverty in Mozambique, the country must use better techniques to protect its citizens and the land they depend on.

– Sydney Blakeney
Photo: Flickr