Almost half of Namibians deprived

14 June 2021 | Social Issues

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

Almost half the Namibian population lives in multidimensional poverty. The San communities and those from the Kavango and Zambezi regions are the poorest, with very little access to sanitation, electricity, transport, housing and food.

The poverty levels of Khoisan communities stand at 93.4%, while 67.8% of Kavango communities are deprived of basic services.

Meanwhile, children aged between 0 and 17 years suffer disproportionately high levels of multidimensional poverty at 51.3%.

These are the findings of the latest Namibia Multidimensional Poverty Index (NaMPI) report launched by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) yesterday.

These figures need a paradigm shift and call for a holistic approach to poverty reduction, Obeth Kandjoze, the director general of the National Planning Commission (NPC), said.

“These findings open a platform for dialogue with the aim to redirect our planning and spending accordingly. Working in silos will not enable us to achieve our goals. Our ultimate aim is to uplift our people from dehumanising poverty and inequalities,” he said.

Poverty is complex

According to him, the most affected are those on the periphery of the mainstream economy, whose employment and livelihood security are not sufficient.

“As we know, poverty is complex and multidimensional. Over the decades, we relied on one measure for determining the levels of poverty in Namibia, which is the money-metric lower bound upper bound poverty measure. This measure reveals that one is poor if they spend a certain percent of income on basic foods and basic needs, below a set level. This means that we have known poverty as: One is poor if she/he spends less than this much on food and basic needs. Anybody who spends more than that is classified as non-poor.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) resident coordinator Sen Pang said the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation and the associated job losses will continue to exert pressure on poverty levels.

“The child poverty analysis presents evidence to inform strategies on not only ending child poverty but stopping the vicious cycle of poverty, for it is true that children born in poverty will grow up in poverty and bear children who will also grow up in poverty. Hence, you will agree with me that ending poverty in general requires strategies to tackle child poverty including sustained investment in early years of life,” he said.

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