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Growth not helping poor Africans - survey

01 October 2013, 16:02

Johannesburg - Poor Africans say they are still not benefiting from the continent's economic rise, according to a landmark survey of citizens across 34 countries released on Tuesday.

Despite some of the world's highest economic growth rates, many Africans still report shortages of water, food, healthcare and cash according to an Afrobarometer survey of over 50 000 people.

"Meeting their basic daily needs remains a major challenge for a majority of Africans, even at a time when their countries are reporting impressive economic gains," the survey found.

The continent's economy is expected to grow by almost five percent this year.

But half of survey respondents said they occasionally lacked food, clean water, and medicine. One in five said they face frequent shortages.

People were poorer in areas where their governments have not built basic infrastructure, the survey found.

"The data show significant correlations between access to electrical grids, piped water, and other basic services in communities and lower levels of lived poverty."

Low education levels also had a big influence on poverty.

People in West Africa and East Africa experienced most shortages, while North Africans reported the least.

The researchers urged governments to focus on reducing poverty rather than simply growing their economies.

"Investments in education and infrastructure may be among the most effective ways to extend economic gains to the continent's poorest citizens."

- Fin24


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