UN report: 8 million Kenyans surviving on less than Sh2,500 per month pushing extreme poverty index higher

Hunger-stricken Kenyans in the past. [Photo NMG]

A new report by the United Nations Economic Commission For Africa indicates that poverty levels have increased in Kenya with 7.97 million Kenyans living in extreme poverty.

Extreme poverty in definition throws to focus households or individuals whose monthly expenditure does not exceed Sh1,954 in rural and peri-urban areas while those in urban areas spend less than Sh2,551in a month, reports Business Daily.

As of March 2020, the rate of Kenyans under extreme poverty is below the UN’s rate of 1.4 per minute meaning Kenya isn’t doing much in alleviating poverty in the country.

With projections of total alleviation of poverty by 2030, Kenya remains off target and there are indications that by then, about 2.7 million Kenyans will be in living in extreme poverty.

Kenya currently has a one-person-per-minute rate of escape from extreme poverty.

This comes as a major blow to the Jubilee regime is in power for seven years now. The affiliation promised to raise the standards of living for Kenyans but this has not been forthcoming.

Ballooning wage bill, massive layoffs by companies, the rising cost of living, increased taxation, a huge foreign debt and corruption are just some of the issues that may be pushing Kenyans to extreme poverty.

The same trajectory is being seen in South Africa where more people are plunging into extreme poverty.

However, Zimbabwe and Mauritania are some of Africa’s countries making a positive step in the alleviation of poverty.

Data by the UN agency suggest that Zimbabwe has a three people-per-minute escape rate from poverty against its target of 11.4 per minute while Mauritania has an escape rate of 1.8 against a target of 1.4. The Gambia remains constant at 1.7 against a target of 1.8.

The report suggests that “As a safety net, these countries should provide incentives for food importers to quickly forward purchase to ensure sufficient food reserves in key basic foods and prepare fiscal stimulus packages, for example guaranteeing wages for those unable to work due to the crisis, favour consumption and investment and maintain infrastructure investments to protect jobs.”