The shocking reality of poverty
The target set at the 1996 World Food Summit was to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015 from their number in the early 1990’s. The number of undernourished people in developing countries has however increased from 824 million to 925 million people. The bulk of the growth has been in Sub Saharan Africa. Figures in China have however dropped, but the rest of the developing world continues on a growth tangent. Efforts to reduce poverty have delivered only marginal reductions.
The World Bank has estimated that there were an estimated 1,345 million poor people in developing countries who live on $1.25 a day or less. In round numbers there are 7 billion people in the world. Thus, with an estimated 925 million hungry people in the world, 13.1 percent, or almost 1 in 7 people are hungry.
What are the causes of hunger?.
- Poverty is the principal cause of hunger.
- Harmful economic systems are the principal cause of poverty and hunger.
- Conflict as a cause of hunger and poverty.
- Hunger is also a cause of poverty, and thus of hunger.
- Climate change
The statistics are alarming.
- The poorest 40% of the world’s population accounts for 5% of global income.
- The richest 20% accounts for three quarters of world income.
- The world’s richest 20% consume 70% of goods while the poorest 20% consume 1.5% of goods.
- Less than 1% of what the world spent on arms was needed to put every child in school.
- 22000 children die daily due to poverty.
- 1,1 billion people in developing countries do not have access to water and sanitation.Nearly 90% of malaria cases occur in Africa.
- The world’s billionaires (497 people approximately 0,000008% of the world population) are worth $3,5 trillion over 7% of world GDP
- The top 0,13% of the world’s population control 25% of the world’s financial assets in 2004.
- Over a million die of malaria every year.
- 25000 die of hunger or hunger related causes.
- One person dies every 3.5 seconds of hunger or hunger related diseases.
- Communities go hungry because they do not have the means to produce enough food for themselves.
- There is little to stimulate household and local economies.
- 14000 women die in childbirth every day with no access to professional care.
Global priorities are warped, $11 billion is spent on icecream and more than a billion children in Africa have never seen or heard about icecream. Even pets eat more than the poor, consuming $17 billion. A serious question begs to be asked, do we still care about people. Cats and dogs are more important than the poor and dying in the world. In the mean time governments spend more money on arms.
|Global Priority||$U.S. Billions|
|Cosmetics in the United States||8|
|Ice cream in Europe||11|
|Perfumes in Europe and the United States||12|
|Pet foods in Europe and the United States||17|
|Business entertainment in Japan||35|
|Cigarettes in Europe||50|
|Alcoholic drinks in Europe||105|
|Narcotics drugs in the world||400|
|Military spending in the world||780|
|To put this into context, this is what is needed
|Basic education for all||6|
|Water and sanitation for all||9|
|Reproductive health for all women||12|
|Basic health and nutrition||13|
For every $1 of aid given, $25 is spent on debt repayment. This trend keeps the poor poor. Is the world really serious about eradicating poverty or is it just mere talk. Obviously Africa cannot wait for the world to dish out aid, this is probably not going to happen. The rich are not going to give out handouts and rightfully so because this may just be counterproductive. Africa should take responsibility for its situation. China has reduced its the number of people under the poverty datum line proving that it is possible to change the tide of poverty. If Africa gets a handout, that would be great, but Africa cannot wait for others to take responsibility. There is no use blaming the West, colonialists and so on. When countires like Zimbabwe take their place as the bread baskets of Africa, things will improve for Africa.
The statistics are alarming, but they should alarm third world businesses, governments and people into action and as I go to sleep, I am thankful for my bed, the food on my table and just the normal things we take forgranted everyday. It is just a matter of fate that I was not born in the slums of Kenya or on the streets of New Delhi. All I can do is to guard myself from becoming indifferent to the needs of the poor, because, the poor do deserve the best.
statistics and figures from
Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats.” Global Issues. 20 Sep. 2010. Web. 30 Aug. 2012. <http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats>.