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Zimbabwe, the second poorest country in the world

October 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Africa is one of the largest continents in the world and the home to 54 sovereign states. Although regarded as the poorest continent, there are some progressing economies in Africa which are quite wealthy.

This list reflects the GDP per capita in each country. This is the gross domestic product, or total market value of goods and services produced by the national economy during the last year, in regards to each person in the country.

The 10 Poorest Countries in Africa as of 2014 ranked by GDP per capita:

10.) Mali – $1,136 Mali is the tenth poorest country in Africa. Mali’s poverty, malnutrition, inadequate hygiene and sanitation are the biggest health challenges. Over 50% of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.

9.) Madagascar – $972.07 The Madagascan economy relies heavily upon tourism, agriculture and the extractive industries. In 2011, agriculture accounted for 29% of the country’s GDP; with manufacturing taking up a further 15%. Tourism in the country has slowed in recent years however with a 50% drop in 2009 compared to the previous year. There are worrying signs in Madagascar though, with 69% of the population living below the national poverty line.

8.) Malawi – $893.84 As of 2004, 54% of Malawians lived under the poverty line on less than $1 a day. This was tempered by the fact that in December 2000 the IMF and a number of individual donors stopped distributing aid within the region due to concerns over corruption. Malawi has since however begun receiving aid again from the IMF’s Heavily Indebted Poor Countries programme; as well as through the Millennium Challenge Corporation from the United States. Agriculture and services make up a huge chunk of GDP, accounting for 35% and 46% respectively. Another issue faced by the country is a shortage of foreign exchange which led to Malawi being unable to pay for some imports. This was due to investment falling by 23% in 2009.

7.) Niger – $853.43 The economy of Niger is not helped by the fact that 80% of the country’s land mass is taken up the Sahara Desert. The country has also suffered greatly from political instability and an inequality deeply entrenched into Niger society. After electing a new government in 2000 the country was forced to accept enhanced debt relief from the International Monetary Fund under their Highly Indebted Poor Countries programme. This was due to the fact the Niger treasury was quite literally empty.

Niger Primary School

6.) Central African Republic – $827.93 Central African Republic has significant mineral reserves, including; gold, diamonds, uranium and crude oil. Of these, diamonds account for up to 55% of the country’s export revenues. The 2010 UNDP Human Development Report ranked Central African Republic in the bottom four nations of its Human Development Index. Whilst the country has seen a minor decrease in those living on less than $1 a day to 62% they would need to half that in the next year to reach the goal set out by the UNDP.

5.) Eritrea – $792.13 Eritrea’s control of the sea route through the Suez Canal saw the Italians colonize the country in 1869 almost immediately after the route had been established. During the Second World War, Eritrea was conquered again this time by the British in 1941. Gross Domestic Product growth in the country has been consistently low, averaging 1.2 percent throughout the last decade and a high of 2 percent.

4.) Liberia – $716.04 Liberia was one of only a few countries in Africa not colonized by Europeans, instead being founded by freed slaves from America. The slaves who founded the country took their inspiration from the federal model of government used in the United States of America. After a coup in 1980 led to the removal of the president, Liberia was involved in a destabilizing civil war which raged on seeing hundreds of thousands killed before a 2003 peace deal. This led to a democratic election in 2005 and a period of stability. The country is still feeling the hangover of civil war however with approximately 85% of the population living on less than $1 a day.

3.) Burundi – $648.58 Burundi is another country almost constantly in a state of tribal and civil war. This coupled with; a poor legal system, economy and education system, and no ports, means the country has never been able to create a stable GDP. A staggering 93% of Burundi’s exports revenues come from selling coffee. Meanwhile, 80% of Burundians live in poverty; whilst 57% of children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition.

2.) Zimbabwe – $589.46 Not only is Zimbabwe one of the poorest countries in the world; but it has the lowest life expectancy in the world with men living until thirty-seven and women just thirty-four. This owes in part to the fact that 20.1% of the population suffer from HIV/AIDS. Whilst Zimbabwe is struggling to deal with its health issues, the government issued a one hundred trillion dollar bill to try and ease the economic situation. The country has had one President, Robert Mugabe since 1980 when it became independant. The country has seen a decline in its economy from that onwards.

1) Democratic Republic of Congo – $394.25 Democratic Republic of Congo was known as Zaire until 1997, and became the poorest country in the world as recently as 2010. The country was ravaged by the Second Congo War which began in 1998. Over seven foreign armies were involved in the conflict over the time it took place, with 5.4 million people losing their lives including civilians. An interesting fact relating to the Democratic Republic of Congo is that it is the largest country speaking French in the world with a population of seventy-one million. That’s six million more than France.

Categories: General

Conjoined twins separated at Harare Hospital

July 24, 2014 Leave a comment

ZIMBABWE has broken new ground in its medical history by successfully performing the first major operation on Siamese twins born in April, with a team of 50 having worked on the eight-hour delicate procedure at Harare Children’s Hospital.

Born on April 22 this year to a Murehwa couple, the twin boys christened Kupakwashe and Tapiwanashe, were joined from the lower chest to the upper abdomen and shared a liver.

The most delicate part of the operation was on the liver, which had to be cut into two to ensure that both boys were left with something, although a liver can grow back if a part of it is removed.

Speaking after visiting the boys who are recuperating in the Intensive Care Unit, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr Paul Chimedza said the procedure was testimony to the quality of health professionals in the country.

He said the successful operation signified how quick the country’s public health system was recovering.

Zimbabwe health sector was affected by brain-drain and funding constraints over the past 14 years as the West’s illegal economic sanctions regime constrained Government’s capacity to fund the sector.

“This (the historic op) is something that the nation should sit and take note of, that our professionals can stand head-to-head with other professionals across the world and do exactly what they can do,” Dr Chimedza said.

“What we probably need to do is to give the professionals the environment to do their work, the tools of the trade, and to support them in whichever way we can.”

Dr Chimedza said Government would, with its little resources, continue to ensure that the environment was enabling for the professionals to effectively use their skills.

“We have Zimbabweans across the world who are doing big things in Canada, United States or Great Britain, but it is another thing when we do things here and especially at Harare Hospital,” he said. “It is commendable that we are doing things here.”

One of the paediatric surgeons who took part in the critical surgical separation, Dr Bothwell Mbuvayesango, attributed the success of the procedure to teamwork.

“We needed everybody for us to be able to separate the babies properly,” he said. “We also needed a lot of planning because it is not an everyday occurrence, there are very few incidents in the world where siamese twins are separated.

“This was an all inclusive Zimbabwean team of doctors. We did not get any help from any other doctors from outside the country and the success is because we managed to plan and work together.”

Dr Mbuvayesango said the twins were separated on Tuesday last week and their condition “is being monitored closely.”

“They are doing very well, they are feeding, they are breathing on their own, they are happy and they look strong,” he said. “We still have them in the hospital for a little while just waiting for their wounds to heal.”

Kupakwashe and Tapiwanashe, now weighing 4,4kgs and 3,4ks respectively, could be seen twirling their feet and fingers from their separate incubators, while their 25-year old mother sat with a watchful eye on them.

The twin’s father Mr Moses Chitigo, a fruit and vegetable vendor in Murehwa, said the success of the procedure was a relief to his family. The President Rober Mugabe was shocked that Zimbabwean doctors would be able to accomplish such a feat. One thing is for sure, we have great talented doctors in our nation. It is a pity that the infrastructure and working environment is not in the best condition. Many thanks to the great team, for having a vision and succesfully seeing it through.

Categories: General
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