Paradox of a poor continent rich in natural resources

Paradox of a poor continent rich in natural resources

: What must be done to reverse the trend

The Chronic Poverty Advisory Network, in partnership with the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA) held two-day workshop themed: Eradicating poverty: using poverty dynamics to enhance development efforts, at the Heron Portico Hotelin Nairobi.
The event, which took place on 3-4 May 2017, attracted researchers, policymakers and civil society leaders from South Africa, Liberia, Nigeria, The Gambia, Ghana, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
Head of Social Sector Division at KIPPRA, Dr Eldah Onsomu, who represented the Executive Director Dr Rose Ngugi, gave opening remarks and welcomed the participants.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
One of the key issues discussed is how to effectively implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate poverty and ensure no one is left behind. It was agreed that for this to be achieved, the strategies adopted must comprehensive, practical and tailored to suit specific  needs of a county, community or people groups. They must also have specific with clear resources requirements and allocation as well as provide clear implementation frameworks. The strategies must also include micro-level data and a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation framework; be coherent, cohesive, long-term and involve all stakeholders.

The participants also agreed that it was important for development strategies to take into account the various dynamics of chronic poverty and include differentiated interventions for People Living with Disabilities (PLWDs).
Among the interventions discussed include social protection, which should include exit strategies, and capacity building as well as improvement of consumption flows. The need to ensure economic and social accountability as well as the development of strategies targeting the working poor was also noted.

Structural transformation
It was unanimously agreed that for Africa to develop and eradicate poverty, it had no choice but to industrialize. Countries could start small and focus on commodity-based industrialization. This will ensure African countries do not export primary products. The need to develop strong institutions and adopt a multi-sectoral approach in addressing poverty issues was raised.

Climate change
This was agreed to be a major threat to many African countries, most of who rely on rain-fed agriculture. According to one of the discussants, more that 100 million people would be extremely poor by 2030 if climate change was not adequately tackled.  Apart from adopting large-scale irrigation, it was agreed that other sectors of the economy, such as the service industry, needed to be focused on to strengthen economies against the effects of climate change.

Poverty policies
Participants agreed that to adequately address poverty, poverty eradication policies must be at the centre of the development agenda and not relegated to ministries and sectors of the economy that receive minimal budgetary allocation and attention.
It was agreed that the poor need to be correctly identified and policies targeting this group needed to be multi-dimensional, focus on capacity building and not create dependence on donor money.
Participants agreed that the media was an important player in addressing poverty, as it could highlight the various poverty dynamics.

Measurement and data systems for the poor
It was agreed that data should avoid averages but be disaggregated, qualitative, real-time and be linked to research and policy. Comprehensive monitoring and evaluation as well as impact assessment frameworks were agreed to be vital.

The use of ICT to ensure financial inclusion, proper identification as well as in the management of agriculture and ensuring disaster preparedness was also discussed.

Political commitment
It was agreed that ‘Simple inclusion does not overcome structural inclusion e.g women representatives in parliament – Politically elite VS advocacy’.

A comprehensive mapping out of stakeholders, development of principles to build coalitions and selection of agenda champions were considered important for poverty issues to be adequately addressed.
Private sector:  Rope in the private sector and clearly define their role.

At the centre of most poverty cases is the absence of assents such as land, livestock and property and participants agreed that the development of strong asset building, saving schemes and social networks could ensure the poor improve on asset ownership.

PLWDs and poverty
A session of the two-day deliberations focused on how disability contributes to poverty and how to reverse this. Participants agreed that there was need to institutionalize principles of equality and non-discrimination (stigma) in all policy designs, implementation, M&E and data analysis.
The need to finance education and health as well the creation of an enabling environment such as accessible transport and other services was also agreed to be vital to support PLWDs and enable them function optimally.
Capacity building was also considered key to enable PLWDs adequately participate in the labour markets.
Kenyan example: The Constitution institutionalized affirmative action for women, youth and PLWDs.

It was agree that multi-sectoral interventions were necessary for:
• People with multiple disabilities
• Persons who will never earn an income
• Those who could earn an income if discrimination is reduced
• Those earning now but will not earn in future
• Those who earn now and will continue earning even in future
• The elderly

It was agreed that for sustainable growth and eradication poverty to be achieved, sustainable inclusive social development has to be embraced by all.
The two-day discussions involved several sessions of brief presentations by discussants in various aspects related to poverty and poverty eradication; questions by participants to the discussants and a number of issue-based group discussions.