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Sub-Saharan Africa income poverty rates to remain extremely high in the next ten years

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.

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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Ngamiland Cattle Farmers Gain Green Zone Revenue

27th January 2023

Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.

Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.

To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.

These collaborative efforts being piloted in Habu and Eretsha villages also include the Pro-Nature Enterprises Project for the People of Southern Africa, funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Le Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM). This complementary funding from AFD and FFEM supports the implementation of the Herding4Health (H4H) model and Rangeland Stewardship Agreements across four rangeland sites in Southern Africa, including Habu and Eretsha, to incentivize best practices that could offer sustainability in the long term for livelihoods, conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.

“We spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine – that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,” said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.

Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herder’s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.

“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,” said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).

Through co-financing of almost P1 billion from the Botswana government and Green Climate Fund, these interventions will be replicated, through The Ecosystem Based Adaptation and Mitigation in Botswana’s Communal Rangelands project, across the country. Both projects aim to improve the economic benefits of cattle owners and multitudes of Batswana households, while contributing to land restoration and climate change efforts by the Botswana government

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