via Zim poverty levels worsen – DailyNews Live Farayi Machamire • 16 December 2015
HARARE – Poverty levels in Zimbabwe have reached alarming proportions, with a recent authoritative survey revealing that in some areas of the country as many as 96 percent of villagers live on less than a dollar a day.
According to the Zimbabwe Poverty Atlas for 2015 (Atlas) — a research carried out by Zimstat, the World Bank and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) — areas such as Nkayi in Matabeleland have a shocking poverty prevalence of 96 percent.
Analysts who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the main factors behind this dire state of affairs were the misrule of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF administration and the recurrent drought which had left most parts of the country relying on humanitarian aid.
According to the survey, some of the other districts which were experiencing high levels of poverty were Lupane with 93 percent poverty prevalence, Gokwe South 91 percent, and Mudzi 90 percent.
In Nkayi, out of an estimated population of 107 613, with an average of five people making up a household, 21 112 households had no income sufficient to provide for their basic necessities, the study revealed.
“Poverty was found to be most prevalent in Matabeleland North, while it was least prevalent in Harare at 36,4 percent and Bulawayo at 37,2 percent,” the report said.
“The rest of the provinces had poverty prevalence rates ranging between 65 percent and 76 percent … districts with lower poverty prevalence rates were Marondera 43,4 percent and Gweru 45,5 percent,” it added.
Unicef Zimbabwe Country Representative, Reza Hossaini, said it was high time the government and other stakeholders put their hands on deck to eradicate poverty, as children continued to be the hardest hit by the scourge.
“Seventy-eight percent of children in Zimbabwe live in monetary poverty. Progress towards reducing poverty has been uneven during the Millennium Development Goals and … we need to act on this,” he said.
Permanent secretary for Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Desire Sibanda, said the economy was the key in turning around the fortunes of the country’s poor.
“We need to grow the economy in order to reduce poverty in Zimbabwe. The poverty map will help in the allocation of resources by government,” Sibanda said.
Critics say instead of focusing on reviving the country’s comatose economy, the ruling post-congress Zanu PF has been consumed by its unending factional and succession wars, at the expense of bread and butter issues.
And the government’s much-hyped economic blueprint, ZimAsset, has so far proved to be a mirage, incapable of providing the stimulus needed to revive the country’s bleeding economy.
Two years down the road since Zanu PF won the disputed 2013 elections, the country’s economic growth rates have plummeted, with ever more companies collapsing and hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost. Concomitantly, the general standard and quality of living has deteriorated sharply.