Today, about 60 million people liv eon less than 1 US Dollar a day. There has been considerable progress in the fight against poverty in recent decades. The extreme income poverty rate fell from 36 per cent in 1990 to 8.6 per cent in 2018.
Despite this progress, the number of people living in extreme poverty globally is unacceptably high, and poverty reduction may not be fast enough to end extreme poverty 2030, as the Sustainable Development Goals demand. After decades of progress, poverty reduction is slowing. According to Human Development Report 2019, extreme poverty rates tend to be higher in low human development countries, but poor people can be found in countries at all levels of development.
While poverty rates have declined in all regions, progress has been uneven, and more than half of people in extreme poverty live in Sub-Saharan Africa, where absolute numbers of people living in poverty are increasing. If current trends continue, nearly 9 out of 10 people in extreme poverty will be in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2030.
The report underlined that income poverty is only one form of poverty. Those furthest behind suffer from overlapping deprivations, discriminatory social norms and lack of political empowerment. Risks and vulnerabilities only enhance the fragility of achievements- as explained in the United Nations Development Programme’s framework on Leaving No One Behind.
Among countries that are off track, most are in Africa and more than one third exhibit high levels of conflict or violence. The report said together they pose some of the world’s most severe development challenges, adding that they also share characteristics of low tax effort and low health and education spending. They are hampered by weak private sector development in the non-agricultural service sector and share a high dependence on natural resources.
Further, the report shared that increasing labour income is critical for those at the very bottom. Access to physical and financial assets is also important- land, capital and other inputs for production or services help as income-generating streams and buffers against shocks. Social protection in the form of non-contributory minimum payment, providing for the most vulnerable is important, the report indicated.
Human development progress involves the capacity to generate income and translate it into capabilities, including better health and education outcomes. This process plays out throughout the lifecycle. The report underlined that each person’s development starts early- even before birth, with nutrition, cognitive development and education opportunities for infants and children. It continues with formal education, sexual health and safety from violence before entering the labour market. For the poorest people the lifecycle is an obstacle course that reinforces deprivations and exclusions.
Today, the report stressed, 70 people escape poverty every minute, but once most countries in Asia achieve the poverty target, the rate of poverty reduction is projected to slow to below 50 people per minute in 2020. The projected global poverty rate for 2030 ranges from 4.5 per cent or around 375 million people to almost 6 per cent with is equivalent to over 500 million people. Even the most optimistic projections show more than 300 million people living in extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2030.
According to benchmark scenario, 24 countries are on track to reach poverty target, with 207 million people expected to move out of poverty before 2030. In 40 off-track countries, even though poverty headcounts will fall, 131 million people are expected to remain in poverty by 2030. In 20 countries the number of people living in poverty is projected to increase from 242 million to 290 million. However, the benchmark scenario is a relatively optimistic view of future economic development, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The global Multidimensional Poverty Index MPI covers 101 countries, home to 77 per cent of the world’s population, or 5.7 billion people. Some 23 per cent of these people are multidimensionally poor. The MPI data illustrate the challenge of addressing overlapping deprivations: 83 per cent of all multidimensionally poor live in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, 67 per cent in middle income countries, 85 per cent in rural areas and 46 per cent in severe poverty.
Poor people in rural areas tend to have deprivations in both education and access to water, sanitation, electricity and housing. But the challenges extend to urban areas too: child mortality and malnutrition are more common in urban areas. The report said Sub-Saharan Africa has them most overlapping MPI deprivations- with more than half the populations of Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan experiencing severe multidimensional poverty, with 50 per cent or more of overlapping deprivations.
Furthermore, the report added that as countries develop, people tend to leave poverty, but the process is neither linear nor mechanic. It comprises both an upward motion and a risk of downward motion. The very definition of a middle-class threshold as a probability rather than an absolute line.
World Health Organization (WHO) last week invaded Botswana for the 73rd Regional Committee for Africa meeting. Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus made his way to Botswana, to understand the health landscape, systems and interventions put in place to promote and advance health, in a country that is looking to achieve Sustainable Development Goal three: Good Health and Well-being by 2030.
The meeting aimed at addressing and taking decisions on the pressing health challenges faced by African countries and developing strategies to strengthen health systems in all member states.
The conference discussed critical health challenges facing the African region. These challenges encompass a wide range of topics: infectious diseases, universal health coverage, health systems strengthening and emergency preparedness and response.
WHO boss, Dr Ghebreyesus said they are now working with member states to develop the 14th General Programme of Work for 2025 to 2028, and urged all member states of the African region to engage actively in the process.
“There are five priorities which are now becoming the basis of GPW14: to promote, provide, protect, power and perform for health. We should promote health and prevent disease by addressing its root cause, and this includes action to reduce tobacco use and harmful alcohol use, to make diets healthier by reducing salt and sugar intake, to increase physical activity and water, sanitation as well as hygiene.”
He further said climate crisis is a health crisis, adding that health systems are increasingly dealing with the consequences of climate change, in terms of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and the impacts of more frequent and more severe extreme weather events.
“Even as we work to decarbonize health systems, at least 15% of health facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity at all, and many more have unreliable access. This means surgeries and births are done in the dark, vaccines cannot be stored safely, and that vital medical equipment cannot function.”
Providing health by radically reorienting health systems towards primary health care, as the foundation of universal health coverage, is said to be more important in Africa than any other region, it has emerged.
“Across the region, hundreds of millions of people lack access to essential health services, or are pushed into poverty by catastrophic out-of-pocket spending. Closing these gaps must be top of the to-do-list for every member state. Maternal and child health also remains a major challenge in the continent. Two-thirds of all maternal deaths occur in Africa, and the latest estimates indicate that the maternal mortality ratio in the region is more than seven times higher than the SDG target.”
Dr Ghebreyesus further encouraged member states to work with WHO on the “Big Catch Up,” to close gaps in immunization coverage, and to reduce the unacceptably high burden of maternal mortality, by expanding access to services for sexual and reproductive health.
“Member States must take action to protect health by strengthening defense against health emergencies. They should engage actively in this once in a lifetime opportunity and deliver both the pandemic accord and the IHR reforms by May 2024, as a generational commitment that t is grounded in equity and addresses the critical gaps in the global health architecture.”
WHO urged countries to take action to power health by harnessing the power of science, research and development, data and digital technologies. “I also urge Member States to engage with the new Global Initiative on Digital Health, which holds enormous potential to support countries on their journey towards universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
For her part, WHO Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moeti says there has been progress on the health status of the African people and the delivery of health services, but challenges persist.
“Government health spending is low in most of our countries. And Africa is home to two in three poorest persons making out-of-pocket payments for health. The number of women dying from pregnancy related causes remains unacceptable and riven b inequities. The increasing burden of non-communicable diseases in Africa has not been accompanied by an increase in investment in the control of these diseases by governments and partners.”
The Gambling Authority continues to collaborate with international organisations and other jurisdictions to combat illegal gambling activities and share best practices for regulation of the industry.
Just recently (last week), the Gambling Authority Board Chairman, Mr. Marvin Thokodzani Torto, and Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. Emolemo Peter Kesitilwe visited the United Kingdom (UK), Birmingham-based Gambling Commission on a benchmarking exercise aimed at maximising benefits of gambling to the economy while minimising harm to individuals and society.
The Gambling Commission is an executive, non-departmental public body of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for regulating gambling and supervising gaming law in Great Britain.
During the visit, the Gambling Commission shared with the Gambling Authority how they regulate the industry in Great Britain, how it’s changed over the years, and how their learnings can assist the Gambling Authority as they enter a new era of growth and expansion with the desire to implement industry best practice for their future work.
Furthermore, the two entities discussed various measures aimed at preventing gambling from being a source of crime or disorder, being associated with crime or disorder or being used to support crime, as well as ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way, and further protecting children and other vulnerable persons from being harmed or exploited by gambling.
“We’re looking forward to attending and meeting other gambling regulators from across the world to share best practice, discuss common challenges and tackle illegal gambling in ways that makes regulation work for all. Many thanks to Mr Marvin Thokodzani Torto (Chair) and Mr Peter Emolemo Kesitilwe (Acting CEO) for taking the time to visit us,” read a communique from Gambling Commission.
This week, the civil society assembled and reflected on the status of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The organizations, Botswana Council of Non-Governmental Organizations (BOCONGO), Global Call for Action Against Poverty as well as Success Capital congregated to recommend priorities for Botswana’s progress in Agenda 2030.
This year (2023) marks the mid-point, with only seven years left to accelerate climate action, eliminating poverty, hunger and ensure gender equality among thirteen other SDGs. The civil society says the global commitment has been integrated across national development plans and aligned to regional integration mechanisms and multilateral interventions.
“Botswana should not be an exception to ensuring the fulfilment of the SDGs: from ensuring capacity to collect data, to addressing governance shortcomings and service delivery. The People’s Assembly joins the rest of the world in galvanizing stakeholders towards ensuring no one is left behind.”
Civil society indicated that it ensured priority issues were raised at 2022’s Voluntary National Reviews that the government reported on; illuminating the gaps and aspirations for more meaningful engagement and inclusion.
“This year, challenges and shortcomings remain the same. Increasing concerns on gender-based violence, safety, media freedom, civil society resourcing, stigma, discrimination, non-communicable diseases and HIV/AIDS among other notable health challenges across the public health spectrum. We continue to raise concern across different platforms and mechanisms to ensure commitments are fulfilled and shortcomings addressed,” the civil society said.
The civil society called on Botswana to strengthen the baseline for measuring and collecting data on SDGs. “We also call on government to strengthen avenues for collaborative partnerships that leave no one behind. Representation in social participation mechanisms should reflect those most impacted. This should translate to expanding ‘who’ and ‘how’ communities and civil society are invited to decision making mechanisms.”
“Harnessing the demographic dividend of Botswana’s youth and diverse communities should be institutionalized and encouraged under the mindset change campaign. We implore for increased opportunities for dialogue and complimentary implementation in ensuring no one is left behind by engaging civil society meaningfully. This includes formal inclusion, representation and resourcing for civil society to participate in national, regional and global fora”
Furthermore, the civil society called on the private sector to engage them to advance the SDGs. “Multisectoral approaches can only strengthen development outcomes if hard-to-reach communities are included. We are on the ground as complimentary partners to the country’s development agenda.”
BOCONGO Executive Director, Maipelo Phale, said for SDGs to be accelerated, implemented and realized, all sectors of society should come up with robust partnership models to leverage the country’s development agenda.
“The People’s Assembly is a collective global form of solidarity and action reflecting how even with limited resources020, we can gather and unite for accelerating progress for the Decade of Action. Our members should continuously engage for our issues to be heard in spaces such as the United Nations General Assembly.”
Success Capital Founder, Dumiso Gatsha said Botswana is leading in reported rape incidents and inequality, stressing that this should not reflect in SDG progress and implementation.
“We should harness our leadership at the World Health Organization’s Executive Board, Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Secretariat and SADC Parliamentary Forum to improve Botswana civil society engagement. This can only be achieved through harnessing, strengthening and including grassroots civil society, communities and groups in Vision 2036 and Agenda 2063.”