Africa could be home to 90% of the world’s poor by 2030 as governments across the continent have little fiscal space to invest in poverty-reduction programs and economic growth remains sluggish, the World Bank said.
That’s up from 55% in 2015 and it will happen unless drastic action is taken, the lender said in its biannual Africa Pulse report released Wednesday, in which it also cut growth forecasts for the region’s key economies.
The rate of poverty reduction in Africa “slowed substantially” after the collapse in commodity prices that started in 2014, resulting in negative gross domestic product growth on a per capita basis, according to the report. “As countries in other regions continue to make progress in poverty reduction, forecasts suggest that poverty will soon become a predominantly African phenomenon.”
While the poverty rate in sub-Saharan Africa, defined as the percentage of people living on less than $1.90 per day, fell between 1990 and 2015, rapid population growth resulted in the number of poor people on the continent increasing to more than 416 million from 278 million over the same period, according to World Bank data.
The lender said pro-poor growth policies are required to accelerate poverty reduction and that fiscal tightening limits governments’ ability to spend on social sectors.